How to Prevent Blood Clots After Surgery

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Surgical procedures introduce injury to the human body. Bodily injuries of this kind stimulate a blood-clotting action, which may increase the risks of forming a dangerous blood clot. Blood clots can occur within hours, days or even months after surgery. A blood clot is composed of blood that turns from a liquid to a semisolid mass of coagulated blood, consisting of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. A clot can cause a blockage in a blood vessel by forming a clump of thickened gelatinous blood. Prevent blood clots after surgery by, being aware of signs or symptoms, following doctors orders, dressing properly and exercising.

Things You'll Need

  • Things you may or may not need:
  • Pain medication
  • Blood thinner
  • Compression stockings
  • Loose fitting clothing

How to Pevent Blood Clots After Surgery

Familiarize yourself with some of the signs or symptoms of a blood clot, such as bodily swellings, redness of skin, pain to the touch, breathing problems, chest pain, abnormal heartbeat, fainting or a fever or cough. Do not hesitate to call your doctor immediately if you have any of these symptoms.

Follow the doctors orders to achieve a healthy recovery and prevent blood clots. The doctor will assess your situation and make a decision as to whether or not to give you an anticoagulant (blood thinner) to prevent blood clot formation. Heparin or Warfarin are medications that may be given through an IV tube, injection or tablets during or after surgery.

Wear compression stockings after surgery if the doctor prescribes them. Compression stockings are special surgical, elastic stockings to help prevent blood clots. Wear loose fitting clothing.

Move around as much as possible during your hospital stay and recovery period. Soon after your surgery the doctor will prescribe exercise. Exercise usually starts the day of the surgery or the day after the surgery. You may be asked to sit on the side of the bed, then stand, then walk. As soon as you can bathe yourself, the doctor may let you go home.

Protect yourself from getting blood clots after you go home from the hospital by taking care of yourself. Continue to wear loose fitting clothes, wear the special surgical stockings if prescribed, consume less sodium, and do not use a pillow under your knees as this can restrict blood flow.

There are a few more helpful things you can do to prevent blood clots. Ask someone to help you raise the bottom of your bed about four to six inches. Using blocks or books may be helpful. One should have the legs raised six inches above the heart a few times a day. Change your position often. Do not stand or sit for more than one hour at a time. Be very careful not to hurt or bump your legs. Always follow the doctor's orders by doing all the prescribed exercises and taking the prescribed medications.

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