Skin tightening in plastic surgery is a common procedure performed on seniors (facelift), massive weight loss patients (body lift), and women who want to reverse the effects of pregnancy (tummy tuck and breast lift).
Any type of elective plastic surgery is only reserved for healthy patients with the right motives and expectations. Meanwhile, individuals with medical condition that could predispose them to higher risk of healing problems and poor cosmetic results are almost always considered as poor candidates.
Blood clot formation or deep vein thrombosis (DVT) that commonly affects the legs is one of the risks associated with skin tightening surgery. Nevertheless, the possibility is greatly reduced if the operation is performed on healthy patients who avoid the “known” risk factors and perform the necessary preparations.
Dr. Tarick Smaili, one of the leading Orange County plastic surgery experts, says the first step to minimize blood clot risk is to avoid tobacco, second-hand smoke, and smoking cessation products such as nicotine gum and patch at least one month before and after skin tightening in plastic surgery.
The association between smoking and blood clot has been well documented, making smokers poor candidates for any type of plastic surgery. Studies have already shown that compared with non-smokers, smokers have a higher incidence of poor healing and “unnecessary” scarring after breast surgery and facelift, explains Dr. Smaili.
Aside from nicotine and other toxic constituents of smoking, the use of contraceptives and hormone replacements is also linked to higher risk of DVT. For this reason, they must be discontinued for at least three weeks prior to surgery.
Another risk factor for DVT is a sedentary lifestyle, so the renowned Orange County plastic surgery expert recommends light exercise or walking after surgery. The idea, he explains, is to pump blood through the leg veins, preventing not just blood clotting but also persistent swelling and bruising.
Prolonged immobility, meanwhile, could significantly increase the risk of DVT, thereby immediate long travel and bed rest are an absolute contraindication after an elective plastic surgery.
With any type of elective plastic surgery, especially if it involves skin tightening, overweight and obese individuals are poor candidates because of the increased risk of healing problem, wound dehiscence, and DVT because of the pressure in the veins of their legs and pelvis.
Aside from obese patients, skin tightening plastic surgery is also not for individuals with blood-clotting disorder, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflamammatory bowel disease because of the increased risk of DVT and other types of complications.