If You Have a Malignant Tumor on the Tail of Pancreas Should You Get a 6 Hour Face Lift

My friend has a 10cm maligant tumor on tail of pancreas. He is having a 6 hour face lift soon. He was not honest with the plastic surgeon and did not tell him about his cancer. What are his risks. Thank you

Doctor Answers 24

Facelift and Pancreatic cancer

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Your friend is doing a major dis-service to not only himself but to the unknowing plastic surgeon. Patients with malignancies are at a higher risk of developing DVT and pulmonary embolism. I don't know anyone who would recommend surgery in this situation. If the malignancy is really in the tail, it might be able to be surgically treated and potentially cured. Your friend should concentrate his energy on that.

Facelift and cancer.

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WHAT IS YOUR FRIEND THINKING OF???? He should tell his surgeon and deal with the tumor first and a facelift can always be done later.

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Pancreas Tumor and Facelift

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Your friend's unfortunate situation can put him at risk if he is having a facelift. An active malignancy is a risk factor for serious blood clots (DVT and PE) after surgery. He really should discuss this with his surgeon and primary care physician. There may be other associated risks depending on him full medical condition.

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Bad idea

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Cancer can have significant effects on recovery from surgery and the stress of surgery can make the cancer grow more out of control.  This underscores the importance of honesty in a doctor-patient relationship.

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 231 reviews

Facelist and Pancreatic Tumor

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I'm sorry to hear about your friend.  He should really have his pancreatic tumor addressed before pursuing any elective surgery.  His risks include increased risk for blood clots (deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism).  Please urge him to have his pancreatic tumor taken care of first and be honest with his plastic surgeon.

Kimberly Lee, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Facelift in Man with Pancreatic Cancer

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Your friend has total freedom to do what he wants, but it is unfair to himself and his surgeon if he is not honest with his surgeon. The surgeon will evaluate him in light of his malignancy and the potential added risks. I personally would not operate on this man until the tumor has been treated.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Facelift when pancreatic cancer is present

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This one is easy. Your friend should hold off on the facelift and have the tumor treated.  Once the treatment has been completed, then they can revisit the facelift issue.  The risks have already been discussed.  In addition, if there are complications with the facelift, it could delay getting treatment for the cancer.  I hope you can convince your friend to do the right thing.

Paul W. Loewenstein, MD
Milwaukee Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Malignant Pancreas Tumor and Planned Facelift

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You are a good and insightful friend to ask this question! I would not perform a facelift in this situation - t does not matter if the surgery takes 2 or 6 hours. Your friend is at a significant risk for complications during surgery or in the recovery phase.

First things first: The cancer should be successfully treated before cosmetic facial surgery!

Frank P. Fechner, MD
Worcester Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Do not have the surgery

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This is an important example of why you need to be honest with your surgeon.  Having a serious cancer or medical condition and not telling your surgeon can put you at incredible risk.  If they are hiding it because they are afraid their surgeon will not operate on them, there is a very good reason the surgeon would not operate on them - high operative risk.  It is unfair to put that surgeon in such a situation.  While you expect your surgeon to be completely honest with you, you should also be completely honest with your surgeon.


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I think that very few surgeons would support this activity if they were aware of your friends health status.  However, the story is somewhat improbable.  Patients undergoing this type of surgery are usually required to obtain surgical clearance by their internist.  The history of the cancer would be front and center of this assessment.  For the tumor to have been discovered, your friend must have abnormal laboratory findings, weight loss, or other symptoms.  Over half of these cases have metastatic disease at the time of diagnosis.  At this point most individuals do not appear well because of changes in their habitus and constitution.  If this surgery is actually going forward, the surgeon and the patient have to share the denial.  If these facts are correct, please recognize that long term survival for pancreatic cancer is poor.  Perhaps your friend feels that the face lift is so important to them they would rather go forward than not.  While it is hard to understand this choice, it is a personal choice.  As a surgeon, trust is everything to me.  I would be very personally disappointed if a potential patient attempted to hide something like this.  The history of the cancer is immediately relevant to the pending surgery. 

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 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.