I Am Mid 50, Considering a Tummy Tuck, but I Am Terrified of the Blood Clot Risk; Can You Give Realistic Statistics on This?

I Am Mid 50, Considering a Tummy Tuck, but I Am Terrified of the Blood Clot Risk; Can You Give Realistic Statistics on This?

Doctor Answers 6

The risk of blood clots is low but measurable for tummy tuck surgery

Thank you for your question.

The risk of leg blood clot is slightly less than !% after tummy tuck.  The risk of a clot going to your lung is even lower.

Obesity, smoking, and immobility increase that risk proportionately.

Precautions will be taken during tummy tuck to reduce the risks.

Having a tummy tuck is an elective cosmetic surgery which has risks.  Once you make the decision to have the surgery, then it is a matter of how you manage the risk.

Make sure you discuss with your surgeon and that precautions to prevent DVT and PE are taken.

I hope this helps.

Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 182 reviews

Risks of Blood Clots with Tummy-Tuck

Blood clots in the calves occur very rarely: <1:1000.  Risks increase if you are a smokers (most well-minded surgeons won't do a tummy-tucks or facelifts ofrbreast lifts on smokers!), if you are on the birth control pills and if the surgical procedure is longer than 6 hours.  In my practice, I make sure the procedures are kept under 6 hours (most tummy-tucks are 3,5 hours) and that intermittent pressure stockings are applied during the procedures and in the recovery room.  Also patients are kept over night with my 2 overnight nurses who make sure my patients ambulate post-op, and I use judiciously subcutaneous heparin (blood thinner that does not affect intraop bleeding).

Marc DuPéré, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Blood clot risk after tummy tuck

The problem with quoting statistics is that statistics describe what will happen to a group of individuals under simillar circumstances.  In other words, we can say that an otherwise healthy 50 year old woman undergoing a tummy tuck has a risk of 1 or 2 in a thousand of developing a DVT ( usually a blood clot in  the calf).  We cannot say, however, if you will be the 1 or the 999.

All surgery involves risk and surgeons work hard to minimize the risks.  Sequential compression devices, elastic stockings and, sometimes, blood thinners are some of the things used to minimize the risks of a blood clot.

Make sure your doctor is a board certified plastic surgeon and discuss your concerns.  Good luck.

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

Risk of blood clot risk

Fortunately the risk of blood clot is extremely low, but certain factors, as mentioned by other answerers, increase your risk.  The obvious issue is that even though it is uncommon, DVT can be life threatening should you get it.  I would simply put you on anticoagulant prophylaxis after surgery.  The chances of DVT on this therapy is decreased dramatically.  Remember, though, any surgery you have carries some risk.  Only you can decide whether its worth it.

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

Standard weight ,seize age avoid clots in surgery

the risk increases in the  nexts items

1.- overweight more than 10%

2.-long time surgery

3.-multiple surgery

4.-utilizing antipregnant pills or patch


6.-hypertension/ cardiological problems

out of that factors a simple TT with legs intermintent  pressure  and  keeping body temperature is ok

Ramon Navarro, MD
Mexico Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Blood clots after abdominoplasty-statistics.

After a tummy tuck, the risk of deep venous thrombosis is 1.2%, the risk of pulmonary embolus is 0.8%. The risks are higher for patients over 40, for patients who are overweight, for patients on estrogen replacement therapy. The risks escalate if additional procedures are done at the same time. A number of things can be done to manage the risks, including leg compression devices and anticoagulation medicines, most commonly Lovenox. Anticoagulants add to the risk of bleeding, and must be balanced against the benefits! Discuss all with your surgeon. Good luck. 

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