According to Cleveland Clinic, blood clots form to respond to an injury to blood vessels. Blood clots can also lead to a heart attack or stroke if they form in one's arteries. If they form in the veins and move through the bloodstream, they can then get stuck in the lungs. Furthermore, as Dr. Meegan Gruber explained, general anesthesia can increase the risk for blood clots.
"So you have somebody who's lost a massive amount of weight. They're still at very high-risk for a blood clot," Gruber said. "Even after the weight loss, they're at very high-risk for a blood clot, and then you add the five, six-hour anesthesia on for their total body lift, and you're talking about a huge rate of blood clot risk, upwards of 5%, which is ridiculously high."
With this increased risk, as well as the fear that comes with it, this is why her patients come to her for awake tummy tucks. "With patients who are at higher risk, like maybe they had a blood clot before in pregnancy or maybe their uncle died of a blood clot, almost all of these patients have read for years about this surgery before they decide to have it," Gruber said. Although a family history increases the risk for blood clots, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, pregnancy, cancer, or using hormones also increases that risk, according to the American Heart Association.