Will Low Hemoglobin Level Affect Tummy Tuck?

I will have a tummy tuck on 03/22. After testing, I have a 7.9 HGB. The Dr said he can not operate on me unless I bring that up to 11. I started taking Slow Fe Iron 45 mg, and a Vitamin B complex with Folic Acid today. I also bought liver, spinach, lentils, almonds, dried apricots, beets, and other high iron foods. Do you think my levels will increase that soon? Do you recommend I postpone the surgery another month or so and continue with this high iron regimen? I am 42 yrs old, 5'3", and weigh 143 lbs.

Doctor Answers 12

Low hemoglobin and Tummy-Tuck

Thank you for your question.  Your hemoglobin is quite low and you should contact your family doctor in order to find a cause for it.  There is no doubt that your hemoglobin must be closer to 12 for a cosmetic procedure.  Keep in mind that tummy-tuck surgery, often associated with some liposuction, will give you a lower hemoglobin post-operatively secondary to blood lost.  You want to avoid blood transfusion for a cosmetic procedure.  Low hemoglobin post-op can be dangerous and will make you feel very tired.  It will take some time to bring it back up and you may have to postpone your procedure for a few months, until also a cause can be found.

Better be safe! and good luck!

Best, Dr. Marc DuPere, Plastic Surgeon, Toronto



Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Low hemoglobin affects T.T ?

Having a good hemoglobin is esencial for any surgery but yes especially for a large surgery like a Tummy Tuck it is important to have at least between 11 and 12, during a tummy tuck alone there is not that much loss of fluids so hemoglobin does not go that much more down , but usually it is combined with liposuction and that makes the hemoglobin diminish a certain percentage beacuse of fluid loss so if your at a 11 y can go down to a 9. It does not affect the result of your tummy tuck or the healing of the scar , what it could affect is the risk of getting infection because your red blood cell count is down , but that is why they give you antibiotic that is the only risk your taking. But it does not affect in the result of the surgery at all. But I would recommend, to first keep your hemoglobin up and eat healthy and do not do extreme dieting keep your self healthy and then go ahead and do your surgery.

Luis Suarez, MD
Mexico Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Will Low Hemoglobin Level Affect Tummy Tuc

We try to minimize risks for all elective surgery, and a low blood count is an avoidable risk. The amount of iron supplement you are taking is rather small. The usual anemia does will be 650 mg daily. 

More important that fixing this is finding the cause, and for this you should be seeing your primary physician for evaluation rather than self medicating. This is a very low hemoglobin and the cause should be determined as a priority.

It takes about a month before oral iron kicks in enough to raise your blood count, so count on a delay on that basis alone. Call your physician, Sandy. 

All the best. 

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

Tummy Tuck With Anemia?

Your doctor is wise in postponing your tummy tuck surgery until your hemoglobin is significantly higher.  Unfortunately,  it is not possible to predict exactly how long it will take for your hemoglobin to increase to normal levels.

Hopefully, you have had a workup to determine the CAUSE of the relatively low hemoglobin level you are starting with. If not, seek consultation with an internist or your primary care physician.

 Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,464 reviews

Tummy Tuck

Remember your tummy tuck is an elective procedure designed to bring a positive change.  To maximize your chances at a successful surgery you want to be in the best preop condition as possible.  Your hemoglobin is definitely low and needs to be improved.  Your surgeon has given you safe advice on that point.  You also need to consult with your regular medical doctor to determine why your blood count has drifted so low.  This will be important for your overall health.  When corrected and stable you can revisit your tummy tuck to proceed more safely.  I hope this information is helpful.

Ronald H. Stefani Jr, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Anemia and cosmetic surgery

Your hemoglobin levels are very low and you definitely need a workup by your family physician at minimum to determine the cause.  Your surgery should definitely be delayed until your levels are stable.  You will have some blood loss with a tummy tuck, so starting at a low level is not good for your overall health.  Remember, a tummy tuck is an elective surgery and should only be done on healthy patients.  Good luck!

Naveen Setty, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Low Hemoglobin and Tummy Tuck

Your doctor is correct to postpone your surgery. It sounds like you are doing are the right things to raise your levels. Unfortunately, it is hard to determine how fast your hemoglobin level will rise. It is important to find the cause of your anemia to properly treat it. You should consult with your PCP to perform a work up prior to your surgery.

Lisa M. DiFrancesco, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Cosmetic Surgery

Thank you for the question. You received good advice and starting iron supplements should help. Best wishes for a good result. Dr Thomas Narsete  Austin, Tx

Thomas A. Narsete, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Anemia before tummy tuck

Your surgeon is smart. Your hemaglobin is too low. I suspect it will take a bit longer to raise it and you might want to postpone. The more important question is "why?" is it so low. Anemia can be from many reasons including heavy menstrual bleeding, poor nutrition and slow bleeding from your GI tract. You should really see a good internist or family medicine doc to find out the cause.

Ronald Schuster, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Hemoglobin of 7.9 and Tummy Tuck

   Tummy Tuck can be performed for most individuals for a hemoglobin above 10 or 11.  However, a hemoglobin of 7.9 is just too low for surgery and should be corrected.  Find the plastic surgeon with ELITE credentials who performs hundreds of tummy tucks each year.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 484 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.