How Common Are Blood Clots After Tummy Tuck?

Am due for a tummy tuck soon, but am scared of getting a blood clot DVT, my surgeon said they use compression cuffs on the legs, that keep pumping during surgery. After surgery I would be in surgery stockings. Is that normal or should be on blood thinning tablets or some injections? Can I do anything before to prevent DVT.

Doctor Answers 11

Risk of DVT and PE after an abdominoplaty, prevention and management

There are many things that you can do to lower your risks for developing a DVT or PE after an abdominoplasty.  It is important to know what your risk factors are and how some can be reduced.  Risk factors include age over 40, use of birth control pills or hormone replacement medications, previous history of a DVT, family history of DVT, obesity, BMI>30, history of a malignancy and smoking.  The only things that you can do is stop smoking and have your BMI below 30.  Prior to surgery avoid long airplane or automobile trips, stay well hydrated, consider taking Vitamin B with folic acid and reduce the consumption of red meat for a week prior to surgery.  Intraoperatively your physician will usually take full precautions including the use of sequential compression hose. Your risk is very low and in the 2/10,000 level.  Safety is an absolute must.  

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

How Common Are Blood Clots After Tummy Tuck?

Aliya--if you Google  "Caprini score" you can get a "scorecard" which rates the risk for clotting after surgery. You will get at least one point for a major surgery. Various conditions are scored. One of the higher risks is a family history, so if any parent or siblings have had a clot, that gives you 3 points. Once you add the points to get your score the  recommended treatment will appear at the bottom of the sheet. If you pass the threshold score, some pharmacologic anti-clotting medication will be recommended--usually injections of lovenox. If you feel your score suggests that Lovenox should be used, discuss with your surgeon.

All the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

DVT(Deep Vein Thrombosis) risk after Tummy Tuck

You are doing already which is the best possible intra op and post op treatment for Dvt prevention.
Your surgeon is advising you properly.
Only if you have a pre medical history of Dvt or a strong family history it could be' suggested a pre op subcutaneous heparine injections

Alberto Di Giuseppe, MBBS
London Plastic Surgeon
3.5 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

How Common Are Blood Clots After Tummy Tuck?

    Blood clots after tummy tuck are not common.  Blood clots that lead to pulmonary embolus are even more uncommon.  However, if you have more than one risk factor for blood clots other than having a tummy tuck surgery, you may need Lovenox or something similar.  Your plastic surgeon should be familiar with the Caprini assessment, and he or she should be able to determine if this is indicated.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 496 reviews

Risk of blood clots after Tummy Tuck

Fortunately the incidence of blood clots (DVT) and pulmonary embolus is low, but if it occurs it is extremely dangerous, and it is certainly higher in tummy tuck than almost any other plastic surgery procedure.  There is a specific grading scale that your surgeon should be using to see whether the addition of anticoagulants is indicated after surgery but there is no hard and fast rule.  If you are concerned, just ask you surgeon for a prescription and start the anticoagulants after surgery.

Mark A. Schusterman, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Risk of blood clots is low in healthy individuals

If you are otherwise healthy and have no personal history or family history of clotting problems, then you are at a relatively low risk of forming a DVT.  Compression cuffs applied before the start of surgery is probably the most common form of prevention used today.  Some doctors use an injectable blood thinner as well or as an alternative, but there is no absolute standard.  Early ambulation m(getting up after surgery and walking) is important as well in the prevention of DVT.  Being in good physical health at a normal weight, not smoking and exercising are things that may decrease your overall risk.  Good luck.

Michael S. Hopkins, MD (retired)
Albuquerque Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 83 reviews

How Common Are Blood Clots After Tummy Tuck?

Thank you for the question. The risk of deep venous thrombosis and/or pulmonary embolism associated with tummy tuck surgery is small, but real. Your surgeon will obtain a careful personal and family history ( and sometimes additional bloodwork if necessary) to ascertain your risk factors and determine the best “prophylaxis”. Avoidance of nicotine products and/or estrogen related products may be indicated.

Choosing your plastic surgeon carefully is important. Having the procedure performed in a fully accredited surgical facility is also important.  Routine measures such as compression stockings and early adulation are some of the measures taken. Some patients benefit from use of “blood thinners” around the time of surgery as well.

Again, your plastic surgeon will be able to ascertain your own personal risk “profile” when it comes to potential deep venous thrombosis and/or pulmonary embolism.  It is probable that once you have had this communication with your plastic surgeon, your anxiety level will decrease.

Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,503 reviews

Blood Clot Risk after Tummy Tuck

The exact incidence of blood clots after tummy tuck is not exactly known because many do not cause symptoms.  Having said that, a tummy tuck is probably the highest risk Plastic SUrgery procedure, especially if combined with Gyn procedures.  You need a thorough history and physical to rule out any risk factors. Compression boots and stockings are a good start, but postop blood thiniing injections would further reduce your risk if you are a medium to high risk patient. Discuss this further with your surgeon or a Hematologist.  All the best.

Robert F. Centeno, MD, FACS
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

How Common Are Blood Clots After Tummy Tuck?

It is not common but exist, you need a very good trained surgeon,  a very safe hospital, and to be a healthy people.


Spanish translation provided by doctor:

No es comun pero existe, usted necesita un cirujano/a bien entrenado, un hospital seguro, y ser saludable.

Maria Cristina Picon, MD
Argentina Plastic Surgeon

Blood clots.

Fortunately, blood clots still are uncommon. In my experience, you have more risk with abdominalplasty combined with multi level liposuction. There are a few precautions we take in patients who are higher risk. Discuss this with your surgeon.All the best

Thomas A. Narsete, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.