Plastic Surgery for Anemic Patients?

If I am anemic, were should my iron level be for plastic surgery? Surgeons, what level or what numbers are safe?

Doctor Answers 4

Plastic Surgery for Anemic Patients?

Good medical practice would dictate that you follow-up with your primary care physician or internist for  evaluation; he/she will be able to determine the cause of any anemia ( if present) and recommend treatment based on diagnosis. Online consultants will not be your best resource when it comes to prescribing specific medication/dosages. Best wishes with your upcoming surgical procedures as well.

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews

Determine the Cause of Anemia before Proceeding with Elective Surgery

Most plastic surgery on some level is elective. I would completely agree wtih the other physicians who correctly point out that the first step is to determine the cause of your anemia before proceeding with surgery. For certain procedures for which minimal blood loss is anticipated, such as eyelid surgery or brow lift procedures, a certain amount of anemia can be easily tolerated. For a facelift, although blood loss is generally minimal, there can be a fair amount of bleeding and starting out anemic can result in a transfusion which is again undesireable for a cosmetic procedure. Bottom line to your question - the line is arbitrary as to what is 'safe'. The first step is to determine the cause and then determine if it is even worth a minor risk of transfusion or other problem to have a completely elective procedure.

D.J. Verret, MD
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Anemia and elective cosmetic or plastic surgery

I would agree with Dr. Aldea. The cause of your anemia should first be evaluated. That having been said, we generally prefer your hemoglobin to be hihger than the 10 range. However, the nature of the procedure may affect this arbitrary number. For example, if you are contemplating a full body lift where blood loss can be anticipated, we would generally prefer that your blood count be higher. However, if you are scheduled to undergo a facelift, a hemoglobin of 10 may be acceptable but not necessarily desireable.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Plastic surgery for anemic patients?

Dear Lucioustam,

Respectfully - I think you are putting the cart before the horse.

The vast majority of Plastic surgical procedures are elective in nature. To proceed with such a procedure without an understanding of WHY you are anemic, in my opinion, is unethical.

Iron deficiency anemia MAY be caused by excessive menstrual flow BUT can also be caused by a bleeding ulcer, a colon cancer or a process which destroys the bone marrow and its ability to produce red cells.

If I were your surgeon, I would get to the bottom of WHY you are anemic and once you had squared away then we would be talking cosmetic surgery.

You may want to consult a Hematologist-Oncologist to work this out.

Good Luck.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

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