Reduce your risk by providing a full and complete health history to your surgeon.
Although rare, one of the most serious complications associated with surgery is the development of blood clots in the large veins of the abdomen and legs. This complication can lead to a potentially fatal pulmonary embolism (blocked lung artery). Therefore, it is extremely important to tell your plastic surgeon if you or any of your family members have a history of blood clots or if you have had a family member who died suddenly, shortly after surgery or childbirth.
You will also be evaluated for other factors that may increase the risk of blood clots. These include:
- Being extremely overweight
- Having recent traumatic injury
- Any disorder of the heart, lungs or central nervous system
- A history of cancer, recurrent severe infection or genetic problems that affect blood clotting
For women, additional risk factors include:
- Taking oral contraceptives or having recently ceased taking them
- Undergoing hormone-replacement therapy
Safety measures to prevent blood clots will be determined by your individual degree of risk. If you are considered low risk, your doctor may simply ensure that you are positioned on the operating table in a way that allows for adequate blood circulation to the legs. If you are of moderate or high risk for developing blood clots, you may also be advised to wear elastic stockings before, during and after your procedure, or to take special anti-clotting medications. Compression devices on the legs may be used during surgery to support your normal circulation.