What would be a basic hemoglobin level for a TT?

My hemoglobin came back at 8, which my primary doesn't seem to concerned I have had gastric bypass and it stays low most of the time, and I was just wondering if a surgeon would do a surgery with t being that low. I have been on iron pills and seen no result,

Doctor Answers 12

Hemoglobin levels for Tummy Tuck

As Tummy Tucks are an elective procedure they should be very safe and all of your health conditions reviewed and corrected. A Hgb of 8 is too low for this procedure, up around 12 should be the minimum. You should be seeing a hematologist who can evaluate your history and prescribe what is necessary to bring your Hgb up to a more normal level. Whether you have a TT or not, this would be beneficial to your overall health.

Saint Paul Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 53 reviews

Tummy tuck and a low Hgb

At a Hgb of 8, you are moderatley anemic. It is NOT uncommon for this to occur after a gastric bypass. Many individuals are affected with low red blood cell counts due to B12 deficiency. Because there are many causes, you should consult a hematologist who can identify the cause and prescribe treatment as appropriate so that once corrected, you can have the surgery that you desire, only more safely! Most plastic surgeons want to see your Hgb up at 12 or higher. There is not usually a large blood loss during the surgery but the blood count is too low to provide you a safe buffer from potentially lethal post-operative complications. Plan to consult a Board Certified plastic surgeon who can demonstrate plenty of experience with your type of abdomen and blood situation.

Tad Grenga, MD, FACS
Norfolk Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

What would be a basic hemoglobin level for a TT?

I can only add to the very good advice given by the other surgeons that you must keep in mind that a tummy tuck is an elective procedure not worth jeopardizing your well-being or life to undergo.  The advice of seeing a hematologist is appropriate and depending upon your size and the extent of surgery (and your medical condition) I would not proceed under a Hb of 12.


Jon A Perlman MD FACS 

Certified, American Board of Plastic Surgery 

Extreme Makeover Surgeon ABC TV

Best of Los Angeles Award 2015, 2016 

Beverly Hills, Ca 

Jon A. Perlman, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

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Anemia and Tummy Tuck

Every patient is different and I would never try to approve you for surgery based on one lab number. However, you are anemic. Ideally,  your hemoglobin should be above 12, or at the very least above 10. Gastric bypass patients often have vitamin deficiencies that need attention before major surgical procedures. It's nor uncommon to have your hemoglobin level fall a few points after surgery, so it you're starting out low, you could be in for a rough post-operative course. I would have a preoperative evaluation by a hematologist. It may be as simple as a B12 shot, but your anemia does need attention.

Peter D. Geldner, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

What would be a basic hemoglobin level for a TT?

It is a pleasure to answer your question. I recommend you to visit an hematologist to help you get your hemoglobin up. Having a good hemoglobin is esencial for any surgical procedure, especially for surgery like a Tummy Tuck. It is important to have it at least between 11 and 12. Low hemoglobin post-op can be dangerous for you. Hope this helps. Good luck!

Carlos Recio, MD
Cali Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

How low can my Red Blood cell count be for a Tummy Tuck?

Anemia, the presence of a subnormal concentration of red cells in the blood is associated with a lower ability of oxygen delivery to the tissues and a faster beating heart to circulate the red cells. In people with blockages of heart or brain vessels this may result in heart attacks and strokes. It may also result in delayed or disrupted healing. 

I would first make sure that the cause of anemia is not worse than increasing your intake of iron such as bone marrow disease or malabsorption. Furthermore, since your cosmetic can be postponed, I would do so until we have a normal hemoglobin level to prevent potentially serious complications. You may wish to see a Hematologist to get to the bottom of it and get you ready for a much safer operation. 

Dr. Peter A. Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 101 reviews

What would be a basic hemoglobin level for a TT?

Living with a chronically low hemoglobin of 8 is probably OK in many cases but it is too low for elective surgery on the scale of a TT. See a hematologist and get it up a bit before your TT.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

What would be a basic hemoglobin level for a TT?

I would share your concerns; a hemoglobin of 8 is too low to embark on tummy tuck surgery.   In my practice, depending on exactly what procedure is planned, I would need to see a hemoglobin ranging from 10 to 12. Consultation with a hematologist will be helpful to you.   Best wishes.

What would be a basic hemoglobin level for a TT?

Consider seeing a hematologist (blood specialist) to get iron injections and an opinion on how to deal with your hemoglobin. It is too low for surgery and not a good idea to have it that low for the rest of your life. I disagree with your family doctor.

Tummy tuck

Thank you for your question.

Every surgeon has their own protocols but overall, 8 is quite low for optimal healing. I would discuss with your medical doctor to see what other options there are to raise your blood levels. You may also want to schedule several consultations with board certified plastic surgeons to have a physical evaluation and review of your medical history to see if they determine you a candidate to undergo elective cosmetic surgery. They may also be able to create an aftercare regime appropriate for you to assist with your wound healing. Best of luck in your endeavors!


James Fernau, MD, FACS
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James Fernau, MD, FACS
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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.