Clot Formation After and During Surgery: Reasons & Prevention

What is Blood Clot?

A blood clot is defined as an agglomerate of blood formed as a result of the thickening as well as sticking together of the constituents of blood. Formation of clot is a natural mechanism which aims at stopping the bleeding, however, when the formation of blood takes place inside the blood vessels, it can be dangerous. Such blood clots formed in the blood vessels may travel to the organs and cause a lot of trouble and may even prove out to be fatal for an individual. For example, if a blood clot travels to lungs (Pulmonary Embolism), it blocks the blood flow in the tissues of lungs and hence may prove out to be a life threatening situation.

Clot Formation After and During Surgery

Surgery and Blood Clot

Surgery is one of the major reasons for the formation of blood clots. Deep vein thrombosis is a disease that occurs as a result of clot formation after surgery. Multiple clot formation takes place inside the deep veins of the body, especially the veins in the legs. The major surgeries often result out into the formation of blood clots in the pelvis, abdomen, legs or hips area.

Reason for Clot Formation After and During Surgery

    • Patient’s Inactivity After Surgery as a Reason for Blood Clot after Surgery

After surgery, a patient needs to stay in bed for a considerable amount of time, till the time he recovers completely. During this period of recovery, the patient’s body is highly inactive due to which the movement of blood in the veins slows down. This triggers the formation of blood clots inside the veins and results out into deep vein thrombosis.

The formation of blood clots may occur anytime between 2 – 10 days after the surgery, however, the odds of blood clot formation may exist for up to 3 months after the surgery of an individual.

  • During Surgery

    • Due to Accumulation of Blood for Long

During surgery, blood clot formation may take place especially during the long procedures. During major surgeries, when the patient lays down on the operation table for several hours, the blood settles down and pools together which sometimes leads to the formation of blood clot. Such blood agglomeration is highly prone to the formation of blood clots.

    • Antigens

In some surgeries like the hip replacement surgery, cutting and scraping into the bone is required. While doing so, antigens get released, as a natural mechanism to the external action. These antigens then trigger the immune system and as a result, lead to the formation of blood clot.

    • Debris, Tissues, Collagen or Fat

Either of the debris, tissues, collagen or fat if gets released in the blood during a surgery, the blood starts thickening out around it and hence leads to the formation of blood clots.

  • Vein Damage

If the veins get damaged during the surgery, as a result of the action of the body’s immune system, the formation of blood clot take place inside the vein.

  • Miscellaneous Reasons for Clot Formation After Surgery

An individual becomes highly prone to the formation of blood clot after surgery if:-

  • You smoke a lot (2 or more packets a day)
  • You are obese or overweight
  • You are pregnant
  • You had Deep Vein Thrombosis in the past
  • Your close family members have had Deep Vein Thrombosis in the past
  • You have a disorder that affects the normal functioning of veins or blood
  • You are suffering from cancer
  • You are above 50 years of age
  • You are using certain medications like the hormone therapy or birth control pills.

Symptoms of Blood Clot Formation

Following are the most prominent symptoms that occur as a result of the formation of blood clots in the body:-

  • Warmth or swelling of the region where the formation of blood clot has taken place after the surgery
  • Tenderness as well as pain in the area of blood clot formation
  • Discoloration or change in the color of the skin to red
  • Shortness of breath
  • Painful breathing
  • Sticking out of the veins
  • In extreme conditions, coughing up of blood may occur
  • Sometimes, the blood clot formation in an individual may cause excessive pain in the chest and may erupt suddenly.

How to Prevent the Formation of Blood Clot After Surgery?

Following are some of the action points that can help an individual prevent the formation of blood clot after surgery:-

Smoking is one of the biggest reasons for the formation of blood clots in the human body. Therefore, it is necessary to stop smoking completely at least 2 months before the surgery.

    • Reduce Excess Weight

Overweight individuals find it hard to move, especially after the surgery. Due to the inactivity of the body, the movement of blood may slow down in the veins and hence results out in the formation of clots. Therefore it is always better to reduce the excess weight before deciding to go for a surgery (if it not urgent). Get in touch with a dietician to help reduce excess weight

    • Physical Activity After Surgery

In order to avoid the formation of blood clots due to the inactivity after the surgery, the patient should start doing some simple body movements like the movement of legs. One might need to take pain medications since the body is in the weak state and a simple movement may result out in pain.

    • Anticoagulants

Anticoagulants are also called as blood thinner medications. Consuming these medications after surgery avoids the blood agglomeration and hence prevents the formation of blood clot. Your physician may prescribe it after the surgery.

    • Compression Stockings

A compression device or elastic compression device, especially in case of deep vein thrombosis helps in preventing the formation of a blood clot by avoiding the pooling up of blood in the veins. Get in touch with a pharmacy to help yourself with a compression stocking.

The chances of the formation of blood clots become minimal if the surgeon, as well as the patient, take care of the points, as discussed. The matter of fact is that a slight ignorance can lead to fatal situations. Therefore, do consult your physician on a regular basis for at least 3 months after the surgery to keep a check on any possibility of the formation of blood clot.

Therefore it is rightly said, ‘Prevention is better than Cure’.

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