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Evaluating Plastic Surgery Patients for Risk of Blood Clot or DVT

Dr. Kenneth Hughes, Harvard-trained board certified plastic surgeon in Los Angeles, has performed thousands of elective cosmetic surgery procedures. The patient base is generally healthy as this is elective surgery. However, some of the patients who elect to pursue elective plastic surgery may have medical issues or mutations, which may make them more susceptible to blood clots.

What are blood clots and what relevance do they have in regard to patients seeking elective plastic surgery? Blood clots or deep venous thromboses or DVTs refer to clots in occluded vessels in the deep venous systems of the legs and sometimes arms that may dislodge and produce pulmonary emboli. These migrating clots may then prevent air exchange and lead to death.

Obviously, these blood clots or DVTs are not favorable outcomes and they are to be avoided and prevented to the extent possible. These are many risk factors which can increase the risk for blood clots. Some of these are summarized in the Caprini risk assessment index. Patients with previous blood clots or pulmonary emboli are particularly susceptible to a repeat occurrence. Patients who have family members with blood clots may have inherited conditions.

Patients who have a previous blood clot will always be at risk for additional blood clots.  These patients should be very careful when requesting elective plastic surgery as should the plastic surgeon who agrees to perform the surgery. Hematology clearance should be obtained as well as a plan to reduce the risk for blood clots if surgery is to be considered.

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