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What can I do to prevent deep vein thrombosis?

In the past, I developed deep vein thrombosis in my leg after a surgery. I have to go in for surgery again and don't want deep vein thrombosis again. What I can do to lower my chances or even prevent getting deep vein thrombosis?

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Doctors Answers (8)

A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) following any surgery, especially an orthopedic surgery, is a risk that is due primarily to increased circulating internal coagulants that help stop bleeding and inactivity that promotes clotting. A single episode of a DVT, which is a blood clot in a deep vein usually in the leg following surgery, may put you at a slightly higher than normal risk of DVT in the future, especially in the same area. To help prevent a future DVT following surgery, you need to discuss this past history with your surgeon, who may order lab work and can start you on an anti-coagulate with either a sequential inflatable compression leg hose or conventional compression leg hose (TED or better) to be worn following the surgery. You should return to normal activity as soon as possible and stop smoking immediately.

You should receive medication at the hospital to reduce your risk of developing deep vein thrombosis. You may need to continue this treatment for six weeks, depending on your medical history.

I would recommend that they put you on blood thinner prophylactically in the pre- and post-operative period, if not contraindicated with the procedure that you are having. I would also recommend you wear compression devices and ambulate as much as possible.

Great question. With your history, I would recommend being measured and fitted into a thigh length compression hose of at least 20-30 mmHg (30-40mmHg might be better), unless the procedure is on one of the legs. These should be worn during your surgery, plus they will probably use some sort of calf. These will be more effective than TED hose. Wear them during your post-operative days. If you are able, get mobile as soon as you can and remain hydrated. Your risk depends upon how many different clot locations you experienced.

They should put you on a blood thinner for prevention post-operatively. Your doctors should be aware of this. You should walk as soon as possible after surgery and be as active as permitted.

This question requires a thorough understanding of your previous episode, and is thus best answered by your surgeon.

You can use graded compression stockings and anticoagulants prescribed by the treating physician, if appropriate.

Given your history, your doctor will order necessary preventive measures according to the risk level your surgery presents. These may include compression stockings, leg compression devices post-op, blood thinning medication, and early post-op ambulation. Which methods are used and for how long depends on factors your doctor will know.

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