Deep Vein Thrombosis, more commonly called DVT, is the formation of a blood clot in a vein deep in the body. The legs are a frequent location where they can form. However, it is important to understand that they can be found other places as well. Deep Vein Thrombosis can break free of their location in a lower extremity and travel to the lung, heart or brain. This can be a life-threatening event, and even fatal.
Luckily, the risk of developing a blood clot after tummy tuck surgery is relatively low. DVT formation is still something to be taken very seriously. There are several things that you can do both before and after surgery to reduce the likelihood of developing a blood clot. The following is a list of precautions you should be taking both before and after surgery to reduce the likelihood of developing a blood clot.
Prevent Blood Clots (DVT) After a Tummy Tuck
Things to do Before Surgery
- Stop smoking and avoid using all other forms of tobacco as well. Not only will this help reduce your likelihood of developing a blood clot, but it will also help you heal faster after your surgery.
- Stop taking hormones, such as birth control pills or hormones replacements approximately three to four weeks before your surgery. Taking these medications can increase your risk of developing a blood clot after surgery. Be sure to discuss stopping any medication with you PCP and plastic surgeon before actually stopping. Also be sure to use other means of protection from pregnancy if you stop taking your birth control medication.
- You may need to have a preoperative exam with your PCP before your surgery can be scheduled. This exam will determine if you are healthy enough to have your tummy tuck procedure. Blood work, vital signs, ECG, and heart and lung sounds will be checked. Be sure to mention any blood clotting issues, such as Factor V to your primary care physician and your surgeon. It is also important to mention any family history of clotting issues as well. You may need to have further testing to determine if you may also have these issues.
- 4. Maintain a healthy weight, or lose weight if obese. Overweight, and inactive people have a greater chance of developing blood clots and other surgical complications.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes frequent exercise. You should be able to walk up 5 flights of stairs without needing to stop.
Things to do After Surgery
- Some patients are prescribed blood thinning medications to take after surgery. Sometimes, it is as simple as taking an aspirin a day after surgery. Other times, it may be an injection such as Lovenox. This will depend on your medical history, and type of surgery you are having. Please be sure to discuss this with your PCP and plastic surgeon to determine if blood thinners will be required for you after surgery.
- Get up and move around as often as your body allows. Going for short walks, as soon as you are cleared by your surgeon to do so, is a great way to prevent blood clots. Exercises to get you moving your extremities may be recommended after your surgery as well. Be sure to do them as recommended to help prevent clots.
- Be sure to wear compression stockings whenever you are sitting or lying down. These stockings will help keep your circulation moving and keep the blood flowing in your lower extremities. Consult with your surgeon to determine how long after surgery they need to be worn.
- Stay hydrated. This will help keep your blood flowing freely.
Signs and Symptoms of a Blood Clot
Here are a few signs & symptoms to watch for after surgery:
- Pain, swelling or tenderness in one of your legs. This is generally found in the calf area.
- A sensation of heaviness or deep aching in one leg.
- Redness or warmth to the affected leg.
If you develop any of these symptoms after surgery, contact your surgeon immediately to determine a plan of action.
If you develop shortness of breath, or chest pain you should be seen in your local emergency department immediately.
Deep Vein Thrombosis is a serious medical issue that can occur after surgery. DVT can travel through the bloodstream to your heart, lungs or brain. This is referred to as an embolism and is a life-threatening event. Your changes are relatively low of developing a blood clot and even lower for it becoming an embolism. It is still very important that you take precautions by being at your best health before elective surgery, and by following the recommendations to prevent them.
A Little About Dr. Donald Roland
Dr. Donald Roland is an experienced plastic surgeon with a practice located in New York City. Dr. Roland is a board-certified professional specializing in body procedures. Are you considering a tummy tuck in NYC? Want to know more? Please visit his website for more info.