Tag Archives: abdominoplasty

Abdominoplasty and Tummy Tuck – Blood Clots DVT and their Prevention

The following educational writing will discuss tummy tuck surgery and blood clots (DVT), and it will help a person understand what this is and how we can minimize it. DVT is the abbreviation for Deep Venous Thrombosis. This is the medical term for blood clots. It is a risk after all operations including cosmetic surgery and plastic surgery. In particular, this writing will discuss blood clot after tummy tuck, because this operation is more prone than some operations. However, understanding DVT is important for any cosmetic operation. Overall, tummy tuck and cosmetic operations are extremely safe!

Abdominoplasty is the medical word for cosmetic tummy tuck or cosmetic mini tummy tuck. These are wonderful operations that can give a person a flat, tight, and attractive abdominal area. The operation is often part of a mommy makeover and can truly get a women back into a bikini. This is done by fixing the damages of having babies! It involves improving both the breasts and stomach at the same time. Results can be amazing! Please go to the before and after pictures in the photo gallery – category- “breast enhancement and tummy tuck.”

Like all operations, blood clots can happen and this is considered part of general abdominoplasty risks or tummy tuck risks. However, it is a very safe operation overall. The risk we are discussing is DVT or deep vein thrombosis. First, we will discuss what this problem is and then focus on it’s prevention- or ways to maximize “not” having this problem.

After all operations, blood clots or DVT can occur. This tends to occur in the legs right after the induction of anesthesia or beginning of surgery. The clots are in the deep veins and not the superficial veins that we see on the surface of the legs. If these blood clots occur, there is a risk that they can break off in the veins and travel with the blood to the lungs. This is called a pulmonary embolus or PE. It can be a serious health issue and hence prevention is important.

Risk factors for DVT include but are not limited to:

Birth control pills or hormones
High blood viscosity (thick blood)
Obstructed venous return (vein problems)
Lack of movement – (immobility after surgery)
Previous DVT
Older age
People having cosmetic operations like a tummy tuck can have some of these risk factors for DVT. However, if you have none of them, it does not mean you will not have a DVT. Notice how stopping birth control pills wil be important and early ambulation will also decrease our chances of this problem.

Many things can be done to decrease our chances of this problem. Active leg exercises, leg elevation, and the use of elastic support stockings can increase vein blood flow and decrease clotting. Early ambulation after surgery and avoidance of prolonged bed rest can promote blood flow and prevent clots. Think of the blood flow in our veins like a slow moving stream. Anything that improves flow or helps the blood flow helps prevent DVT. Even elevating the foot of the bed 15-20 degrees can help promote blood drainage. Patient positioning after surgery will be discussed to help this also.

I recommend the acronym “PAIL” to help remember things to do after surgery to decrease DVT or tummy tuck blood clots or abdominoplasty blood clots.


P-Patient Positioning.
Keep the “toes above the nose” to help blood flow. A lounge chair is not tilted back enough. Use pillows to get those legs above the heart.

A- Ambulation (early ambulation)
Get out of bed frequently. A minimum of 4-6 times a day for 5-10 minutes a day. More is good. This encourages blood flow. It is recommended to avoid twisting of the abdomen, if you are recovering from a tummy tuck. By avoiding twisting, it encourages the skin to heal to the underlying muscles and decreases fluid accumulation. Early ambulation, without twisting the abdomen, is recommended after surgery.

I- Invisible Bicycle
Despite early ambulation, we still will have a lot of time in bed. We can promote blood flow by moving the legs, like riding an “invisible bicycle.” This can be done in bed with minimal pain after surgery, even an abdominoplasty. You can’t do this enough! Do it as much as you can.

L- Leg Compression.
I use sequential leg compression machines for all of my operations to squeeze your legs during surgery and promote blood flow. Leg stocking are recommended, as well, to help with this. Knee high stockings to compress the veins are recommended.

Remember “PAIL” to help think of the important things after surgery to minimize DVT and problems.

Dr. Saunders is a board-certified plastic surgeon who practices exclusively cosmetic surgery. Please check out the tummy tuck before and after photos on our web site. Also, please come in for a complimentary consultation to learn about your choices and options!

Compression Garments After Tummy Tucks in Delaware

An abdominoplasty is the medical word for the tummy tuck procedure. The purpose of the cosmetic operation is to give a person a flatter, thinner, and more attractive stomach. Dr. Saunders believes that extra muscle tightening, which he calls the “California Corset,” gives an extra flat and sculpted tummy tuck. Dr. Saunders specializes in this procedure, and he uses the latest techniques to achieve his results. After tummy tuck surgery, Dr. Saunders will go over the important postoperative instructions to maximize your healing. There is also a section on his web page under “Patient Forms & Survey” that has the postoperative instructions covered in detail.

The compression garment is one of the requirements after your cosmetic abdominoplasty. Patients often want to know why it has to be worn and what purpose it has for healing. There are three main reasons why we wear compression garments to help with tummy tuck recovery. The first is that the pressure of the garment helps with bruising, swelling, and discomfort after abdominoplasty surgery. The physical pressure helps shift the balances of fluid in our body to encourage absorption. The pressure helps “push” the fluid out of the tissues. This leads to quicker resolution of the bruising and swelling normally seen after tummy tuck surgery. This is an important for about one month. The first two weeks is very important, but during the second two weeks the garment can be taken off for periods of rest and comfort.

The second reason compression garments are important after abdominoplasty surgery is to promote healing of the scar. Pressure has been consistently shown to be important to give an attractive and smooth scar. The pressure also minimizes the chance of keloid scars or hypertrophic scars. This can be an important factor to give the best healing and scar. An interesting fact is that burn doctors treat their burn patients  with compression garments for one year!! This is done to maximize healing of their scars.
During tummy tuck recovery, the pressure from the garment really helps healing. It is usually not mandatory for one year, but does underscore the importance of pressure for long periods to give the best scar.

The final purpose of the compression garment is that it promotes proper eating and weight control. Abdominoplasty surgery can not replace diet and exercise. Weight control is an important part of healing. A compression garment helps with diet by making us feel full. It is not uncommon to eat less with these types of garments because of the pressure. Just like when you eat too much and your pants feel tight, the garment encourages proper eating. This is an extra benefit of compression garments and is an old fashioned, but it helps us to eat healthy.

Many people ask what garment is best. A binder or girdle can both work! The concept is “put pressure” where you had surgery. Spanks tend to be too light weight. A stronger pressure is recommended.

Dr. Saunders has West Chester plastic surgery patients and Media plastic surgery patients who have recommended the following brands.

1: Cass  (from Nordstroms)
2: Flexees  (from Kohls)
3: Ardyss International

Dr. Saunders is a board certified plastic surgeon who practices exclusively cosmetic surgery in Delaware and Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania. Please check out the tummy tuck before and after photos on our web site. Also, please come in for a complimentary consultation to learn about your choices and options!