How Can I Prevent Blood Clots After a Tummy Tuck? Don't You Sleep Alot Afterwards? Wouldn't a Clot Happen in Your Sleep?

Doctor Answers 10

Clots after a Tummy tuck?

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If your levels of clotting are between the normal range there shouldn't be any. But also you need to hel your body, by taking small walks and not being in just one position for long periods of time. Some doctors prescribe meds to prevent it! Just follow your surgeon's directions, because it changes from one to another.

Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon

Preventing Blood Clots after Tummytuck

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You are right to be concerned about the risk of blood clots after abdominoplasty. Although tummy tucks have a higher rate of blood clots than most plastic surgical procedures, the risk is still quite low. Before surgery a risk assessment should be done. If your risks are increased, there are several things you can do. For instance, if you are on Estrogen or birth control ills, you can stop them several weeks ahead of your surgery. If there is nothing you can do to reduce the risks significantly, then you will be placed of an anticoagulant before surgery and continued for several weeks after surgery. Even if you do not have an increased risk, many surgeons like myself use leg pumping stockings during surgery and during any overnight stay, get you ambulating as quickly as possible and suggest that you keep your legs elevated when you are not walking.

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon

Use compressive stockings and post operative heparin

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Current information states that DVT or blood clot is highest after procedures like abdominoplasty. Although still low the increased abdominal pressure with abdominal plication increases the risk.

We always use sequential compression stockings during surgery. We recommend early ambulation.

We recommend heparin or Lovenox after surgery. They have been shown to decrease the risk of blood clots. But they do increase the risk of hematoma, and have extra cost and other hassles. Lovenox maybe slightly superior but is much more expensive.For our patients that refuse heparin we recommend a daily baby aspirin, compressive hose, and frequent ambulation.


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Blood Clot Prevention

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Blood Clot Prevention after Tummy Tuck start before surgery.  A good history and physical examination can uncover risk factors such as a family history of blood clots, hormone supplements, cigarettes, cancer, previous blood clots, varicose veins, weight, etc.   Next reducing any of the preventable risk factors is in order. At the time of surgery, compression devices and postop blood thinners are in order.  Combining a tummy tuck with another procedure does increase your risk.   All the best.

Blood clots very rare after tummy tuck.

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1)  We take active steps to prevent this complication.  Compression wraps on your legs during surgery.  Getting you moving right after surgery.  And blood thinners.

2)  Sleep is not related to blood clots, but it is important not to just lie around in bed all day after surgery.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

How Can I Prevent Blood Clots After a Tummy Tuck?

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Early mobilization is one of the easiest and most risk-free methods of avoiding clots. Leg compression, sometimes with a sequential compress device is also risk-free, and can be used at home, especially at night.

For patients with sufficient risk status (check your own Caprini score via google) your surgeon may suggest blood thinners, most commonly Lovenox by daily injection for a week. All the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Blood Clot Prevention After Tummy Tuck

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Thank you for your question.  In my practice with take several precautions to prevent blood clot formation.  This includes a blood clotting risk assessment pre-operatively which is a scoring system unique to each patients medical history.  I also have my patients wear thigh high compression stockings starting the morning of surgery and continually 2 days post surgery.  In addition, compression foot devices are placed on patients during surgery which facilitates circulation in the legs and throughout the body.  Post-operatively I recommend to be up and walking throughout the day.  All these combined will lessen the risk of blood clot formation.  As always it is important to follow the specific instructions of your plastic surgeon as they know what is best for your situation.

Blood Clots After Tummy Tuck

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Great question!  These are some things to help prevent blood clots after surgery.  
Do walk regularly after surgery. Walking helps pump blood through the leg veins, preventing clots from forming.
Do use SCDs. Sequential compression devices (SCDs) are mechanical pumps that intermittently compress the leg veins, promoting circulation by simulating walking. These are placed on all of our surgical patients undergoing surgery as a prophylactic measure.
Do NOT smoke before and after your surgery. Smoking causes constriction of blood vessels , impairing blood flow and oxygenation. Smoking greatly increases your risk of blood clots.
Do disclose your health history with your surgeon and let him/her know if you have had a blood clot before, family history of blood clots, presence of blood clotting disorders and any underlying medical conditions as this may put you at a higher risk than the general population.
Hope this helps.

Blood clot risk reduction

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Unfortunately there is no way to eliminate the risk of developing blood clots, but there are many things that can be done to minimize the risk.  Your health status and history need to first be evaluated for risk.  Protocols are in place in the operating room to lower your risk such as the use of compression hose and sequential compression devices.  Early ambulation is also important.

Mennen T. Gallas, MD
Katy Plastic Surgeon

Preventing blood clots after a tummy tuck requires planning and patient risk evaluation.

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Discuss with your plastic surgeon how  you can minimize the risk of blood clots (deep vein thrombosis) prior to your surgery.

You should be evaluated for risk factors by your surgeon; if you are in a elevated risk group, your options should be discussed. Post operative instructions and ambulation advice should be adhered to.

In my practice, if a patient is at higher risk for blood clots (deep vein thrombosis), I  use low dose anticoagulants for their protection. This starts before the incision is made and is continued for a period after the surgery.

I am attaching a link where you could start looking at the prevention of this complication.

Douglas J. Raskin, MD
Colorado Springs Plastic Surgeon
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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.