Can Having Enlarged Red Blood Cells Be Problematic for Tummy Tuck?

I just got a blood test done and all of my tests were negative. I am 5'8" tall, 149 lbs, and phsyically fit. However, the test did reveal that I have enlarged red blood cells. I am considering a tummy tuck. I am not an alcoholic but I do drink socially. My doctor told me to increase B-12 intake with a multi-vitamin or supplement. Is there a greater risk to my health if I undergo the abdominoplasty surgery and if so, what can I do now to prevent any injury?

Doctor Answers 5

Enlarged RBC's and Tummy Tuck

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Enlarged red blood cells (increased MCV-mean corpuscular volume) can occur due to B-12 deficiency. This often occurs with alcoholics so I see why you have stated your drinking history and your surgeon has put you on B-12. If all other factors are normal, meaning the hemoglobin level, MCHC (mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration), hematocrit (all women are somewhat low on this), platelet number and volume are all normal than I wouldn't worry too much. If your PMD is okay with it than you shouldn't have a problem, from a RBC standpoint, of doing well with surgery.

Enlarged RBC's

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Dear Scared

Instead of asking us on this board this is a question you should be asking your plastic surgeon or every plastic surgeon you consult. Is this a congenital or hereditary problem with no sequelae or is it something requiring more workup? It would be appropriate to discuss this problem with your primary care doctor and possibly be seen by a hematologist. They would be best to answer.

Good luck if you proceed with your surgery.

Enlarged Red Cells May Call for Further Testing

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You may need further tests and possibly other treatments. I agree 100% with Dr. Aldea...this is too specific and too important a question to be answered on an internet discussion board.

John LoMonaco, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 276 reviews

Enlarged red blood cells should be worked up before Tummy Tuck

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I keep seeing your posts. I REALLY think your surgeon, (the one you settled on, because you thought the others could be ripping you off) should answer this question.

Red blood cells come in a variety of sizes; Some fall within a normal range of MCV (mean corpuscular volume) while others when affected by disease processes or shortages are produced either too small (MICROCYTIC) or too large (MACROCYTIC).

Whenever we lose a lot of blood (heavy period, prolonged bleeding ulcer, trauma), our bone marrow is told to speed up the production and release of RBC (red blood cells or erythrocytes). Like the scene in a busy restaurant kitchen at dinner time, if all the ingredients are there and the waiters pick things up and remove out, the kitchen functions well and dishes look good.

BUT -- if the bone marrow is low on iron (iron deficiency anemia), the bone marrow packs LESS hemoglobin in each red cells, first producing smaller cells (IE dishes) and then producing less of them, causing Iron deficiency anemia.

In deficiencies involving B complex (12, intrinsic factor issues etc), the RBC produced are LARGER but also less adapt at capturing oxygen. The result may be B12 or megaloblastic anemia. This SHOULD BE correctable with a few shots of B12 but it is important to see WHY it took place since its causes can be simple or as treacherous as stomach cancer or lymphoma. It needs to be worked up.

Depending on your surgeon's operating technique, usually not much blood is lost during a tummy tuck but the decision to proceed should be based on your health otherwise .

In summary, your macrocytic anemia needs to be worked up.

Good Luck.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Safety in tummy tucks

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I think that the large red blood cells may be indicative of a certain type of anemia. This can be corrected by taking B-12 and vitamins. I have performed tummy tucks on many patients with alot of medical problems, most commonly anemia. I take patient safety very seriously and often will take additional steps to minimze risks. Of course as part of your evaluation I would discuss your care and surgical plan with your doctor after I have reviewed your lab work.

Make sure tthat your plastic surgeon is aware of all of your medical issues prior to surgery. Ask them if they have operated on patients with your condition before and what the results have been. After all your safety should be everyone's primary concern.

Hope this helps.

Michael Diaz, MD
Melbourne Plastic Surgeon

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.