What You Should Know About Post-Op Blood Clots

What You Should Know About Post-Op Blood Clots

When you need surgery, there are always some risks involved. One of the main risks of orthopaedic surgery is blood clots in the post-op period.

Not everyone experiences this issue, but it’s something you should be aware of before and after your procedure. Knowing the symptoms helps you detect a problem early. 

At Orthopaedic Specialists, our team thoroughly understands the risk of blood clots after surgery. Dr. Brandon Downs is our orthopaedic specialist who gives you the tools to prevent a blood clot after you’ve had a procedure.

What is a blood clot?

Your blood flows freely through your arteries and veins, traveling to and from your heart to oxygenate your body. However, after surgery, you could end up with a deep vein thrombosis, or DVT — a blood clot that most often occurs in your legs.

Your blood clots when you get cut or are bleeding somewhere. This is normal except when it happens inside one of your blood vessels, which causes blockage in that vesselleading to pain and other symptoms.

But that’s not the only bad part of a DVT. Sometimes, the clot can break off and travel to your lungs, causing another type of clot called a pulmonary embolism (PE). A PE is very dangerous, as it cuts off blood flow to your lungs. It’s a life-threatening emergency that needs to get treated quickly.

Who is at risk for blood clots?

Anytime you’re immobilized for a period, especially during surgery, you’re at risk for blood clots. Extended hospital stays where you’re confined to a bed also increases risk. 

Major surgery, especially orthopaedic surgery, increases your chances of developing a blood clot. However, other factors play into your risk as well, including:

If you have a clotting disorder or a medical condition that affects your veins and blood vessels, you also have a higher risk of developing a clot in your legs or lungs after surgery.

Symptoms of a post-op blood clot

After surgery, it’s necessary to understand the warning signs of a blood clot. This helps you detect one early on before it has the chance to break off and become a pulmonary embolism. 

There are specific symptoms of a DVT and PE. The symptoms related to a clot in your legs include:

If your DVT doesn’t signal a problem for some reason, you could end up with a pulmonary embolism, which leads to other symptoms related to your lungs, including:

A pulmonary embolism is a medical emergency. If you experience any of the above symptoms after having surgery, it’s vital to go to the nearest emergency room. A pulmonary embolism can quickly become a life-threatening situation if not treated immediately.

Preventing a post-op blood clot

Not all post-op blood clots can be prevented, but there are steps to decrease your risk of this complication. Dr. Downs and his team provide you with prevention strategies before surgery, including:

If you’re at a higher risk for blood clots following surgery, Dr. Downs may have you take aspirin or other blood thinners after your procedure to reduce the risk of your blood thickening and causing a clot.

Staying well-hydrated during the post-op period is also essential, as it helps thin out your blood. Make sure to drink plenty of water and take all your prescribed medications to keep your blood moving.

If you’re concerned about a blood clot after surgery, contact Orthopaedic Specialists by calling one of our convenient locations in Nashville, Tennessee, or requesting an appointment on our website.

You Might Also Enjoy...

3 Things Every Pitcher Should Know About Their Shoulder

If you’re a pitcher, your shoulder is vital to staying in the game. However, if you’re not careful, shoulder injuries can happen, keeping you on the bench. Read more to learn what you need to know about your shoulder health when you’re a pitcher.

6 Tips for Preventing Tennis Elbow

You use your arms a lot during the day, and if you’re not careful, overuse of your forearms can lead to a painful condition called tennis elbow. Keep reading to learn how you can effectively prevent the pain of tennis elbow from starting.

How to Prepare for Recovery After Knee Replacement Surgery

Knee replacement surgery is a big deal — and preparing for it is just as important. Recovery after the procedure is vital, and preparation is needed beforehand. Keep reading to learn how to prepare yourself and your home for post-surgical recovery.

How to Prevent Rotator Cuff Tears

Your shoulders are a vital part of your life — so when an injury strikes, it’s devastating. Rotator cuff tears are common shoulder injuries but they can be prevented. Keep reading to learn how you can effectively prevent a rotator cuff tear.

Who Is a Candidate for Total Knee Replacement?

Knee pain can limit your ability to walk, perform daily tasks, and climb stairs. Total knee replacements can restore the function of your knee and return your freedom. Here are five signs that surgery is right for you.