Study: Blood thinner lowers plastic surgery risk

November 29, 2011

Study: Blood thinner lowers plastic surgery risk
Study: Blood thinner lowers plastic surgery risk

A new study suggests plastic surgery patients with a high risk of serious blood clot-related complications called venous thromboembolism (VTE) should be treated with the blood-thinning drug enoxaparin beforehand.

For the study, scientists followed 3,334 patients undergoing plastic and reconstructive surgery at four U.S. hospitals. All were considered at increased risk of VTE.

All of the patients enrolled in the study were treated with the drug enoxaparin and researchers compared rates of VTE within 60 days after surgery with those of similar patients undergoing plastic surgery without preventive medication at the same hospitals.

The study found that patients who received the drug were about 60 percent less likely to develop VTE following plastic surgeries.

VTE is a potentially serious complication in which clots develop, blocking blood flow to the legs (deep vein thrombosis) or lungs (pulmonary embolism). In addition to the immediate risk of death, VTE can lead to long-term complications and health problems.

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), risk factors for this complication include certain heart or respiratory diseases, predisposition to clotting, varicose veins, smoking, obesity, pregnancy, advanced age and the use of estrogen-containing drugs such as birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy. Among plastic surgery patients, a combination of risk factors and the type of surgery may predispose a patient to VTE.

ASAPS recommends each plastic surgery patient undergo an individualized evaluation to assess whether he or she possesses risk factors beyond the major risk of surgery. A patient history that specifically focuses on VTE risk factors should be done within a few weeks before surgery.

The mission of the Aesthetic Society includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Aesthetic Society, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to

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