Advancements to surgical techniques have allowed doctors to fix problems that previously were unable to be solved. This has led to longer and better quality of life in hundreds of millions of people. However, surgery is not benign. There are many potential risks associated with any surgical procedure, and foot surgery is no exception. One of the many potential risk is the formation of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), otherwise known as a blood clot. Let’s discuss some of the ways to reduce the risk of forming a DVT.
Before we get too far along, it is important to know that blood clots after foot surgery are very uncommon. That being said, it is still important to know what can be done to reduce the risk of blood clot formation and how to treat them, since they can have life threatening effects.
Unfortunately, there are some risk factors that we cannot change which increase the risk of DVTs. Older people tend to be at greater risk than younger people. Women also are more likely to have a DVT when compared to men. If you inherited a blood clotting disorder, or something like that runs in your family, you also have increased risk of DVT. These risk factors cannot be changed, but it is important that you understand their significance before surgery.
Fortunately, there are several risk factors that can be modified so the risk of DVT is lessened. Obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and use of tobacco are all associated with increased DVT risk. Specifically with foot surgery, being confined to a bed or wheelchair will immobilize your leg, which decreases blood flow and can increase the risk of DVT. Thankfully, all of these risk factors can be addressed. Before surgery, if a person was able to lose weight, increase their activity, and temporarily refrain from using tobacco products before and after the procedure, their risk of DVT would dramatically decrease.
Now that we understand the risk factors associated with blood clots, we will discuss in the next post how to recognize the signs and symptoms and appropriate treatment.