No more shots for prevention of postsurgical blood clots
Patients undergoing tummy tucks (or abdominoplasty), especially those also having a breast augmentation or breast lift procedure (Mommy Makeover) can be at an increased risk for clots in the legs called Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT). These DVTs can result in a fatal condition called a Pulmonary Embolus (PE). Many believe this may have been what caused the death of the Rap Star Kanye West’s mother, Donda West, who had a tummy tuck and breast reduction in 2007.
For decades, to prevent these adverse events of a DVT or PE as a patient safety measure, board-certified plastic surgeons have been screening their patients preoperatively. Those that are deemed to be at higher risk for DVT/ PE are given shots subcutaneously for almost two weeks after surgery to prevent these clots from forming.
Now, recent studies have shown that a new pill called rivaroxaban is just as effective as the shots. As an anticoagulant, the drug prevents new clots from forming and has even been used to prevent strokes. With a pill, there is obviously better patient compliance and data indicates fewer risks associated with this new medication. Cost appears to be very similar between the two medications.
But most importantly, cosmetic patients are ecstatic that they no longer have to give themselves shots in the thighs for two weeks after their surgery.
If you are considering a tummy tuck or mommy makeover make sure your board-certified plastic surgeon evaluates you for the risk of DVT & PE BEFORE your surgery. If they suggest shots consider asking them to make an inquiry about the new pills that are just as effective as the shots. Patient safety and the prevention of adverse events and unfavorable outcomes like DVT/ PEs should be at the top of their list in patient care.