Tummy Tuck Blood Clot Risk?

I am 39 and a non-smoker. I have a tummy tuck 2 weeks ago but still fear complications. When are you "out of the woods" for such things as infection and bloot clots?

Doctor Answers 7

Early postoperative complications from tummy tuck

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The vast majority of major complications occur or are evident at 2 weeks. Minor problems are possible and activity limitations are advised but you are likely in the clear for the most part at this point in time.

You are almost out of the woods

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To elvis01fan,

Hi! If you are doing well at two weeks, you can almost certainly rest easy. Any infection certainly would have become apparent by now.

There is a very low but real risk of blood clots after a tummy tuck, and we take multiple precautions to prevent them. The key is to identify high risk patients. Most blood clots show up in the first few days after surgery; so relax!

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

Tummy tuck and blood clot risk

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Your blood clot risk after tummy tuck should be very very low at this point.

For those patients contemplating TT surgery,

I advise all my patients to look for early signs of a blood clot, including swelling in one or both of the calves, any shortness of breath or difficulty or changes in breathing.

Prevention of blood clots includes using compression stockings in surgery, hydrating the patient well and ambulating the patient well. Surgeries should be performed expediently in safe operating environments (ambulatory surgery centers with accreditation, not a doctor's office) where all the necessary monitoring and emergency equipment are available and certified.

Other measures such as Lovenox (low molecular weight heparin) can increase the risk of bleeding and are debatable for the tummy tuck procedure. Patients with a specific blood clotting problem should have a hematology consultation as well as the usual internal medicine examination and therapy should be targeted to the condition.

Early walking after surgery and avoiding a prolonged sitting or standing position are also recommended.

Blood clots can occur at any time, with or without surgery. Even a simple airplane flight can cause a blood clot, so all patients should be vigilant for the signs of pulmonary embolism and not ignore the early signs.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 190 reviews

Two weeks after abdominoplasty, the risk of blood clot (pulmonary embolism) is almost nil.

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Most blood clots in the legs and pelvis that can cause a pulmonary embolism form during or shortly after the operation.  They dislodge several days later and float to the lungs.  If you were to have a pulmonary embolism, it would have occurred by now.  Stay active but you don't have much to worry about relative to blood clots.

Preventing complications after surgery

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Based on the information you provided, at this point in your recovery, if you have not had any complication with infection, bleeding or clotting, you should be in the clear of any serious complications that could happen after an invasive surgery. Just be sure to follow your plastic surgeons post-op instructions to minimize risks of any minor complications as well.

During the first week of recovery, you are advised to move the legs to prevent clotting and to wear compression stockings for a few days. At 2 weeks, usually the drains are removed and you are able to get in the shower. until that time, keep things dry and sterile dressings on with the abdominal binder to minimize swelling and aid in recovery.

Tummy tuck and blood clot risk

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Tummy tucks are a popular and extremely effective way to contour the abdomen. Patients should remember that this is still a significant surgery and has the risks of other significant abdominal surgeries, including blood clots. Patients who are at risk of developing a blood clot after surgery include patients with a prior history of blood clots, women who are on birth control pills, and such women who are smokers. Regardless, in our practice we take precautions with every patient who is to have the surgery to keep the circulation pumping throughout the surgery and to ambulate the patient as quickly as possible to help prevent the creation of a clot. If you have had your tummy tuck more than two weeks ago, it is unlikely that you will develop a blood clot at this time.
To learn more about tummy tucks, see photos, and help you decide which one is best for you, please visit us at the link below:


Tummy tuck and out of the woods

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By two weeks you are pretty close to being out of the woods. If the incisions are well healed and the drains are out you probably are doing great.

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.