Plastic Surgery and the Hypertensive Patient: Is It Possible?

Plastic SurgeryPlanning for plastic surgery involves a host of factors ranging from an individual’s cosmetic needs and preferences, lifestyle habits, and the state of his or her overall health and well-being. During initial consultations here at our San Francisco plastic surgery practice, it’s not uncommon for us to encounter patients who are keen to undergo surgery yet the presence of certain health condition or disease may further put their health at risk following the procedure. Hypertension is one of these pre-surgery health issues.

Understanding Hypertension

Generally, blood pressure refers to the measurement of force exerted against the arteries (the blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the areas of the body). Blood pressure is at its highest when your heart pumps blood (systolic pressure) and it is at its lowest when your heart is at rest between beats (diastolic pressure). In a blood pressure reading, the systolic pressure comes before the diastolic pressure.

Generally, a reading of 120/80 mmHg is considered normal while a reading beyond 140/90 mmHg can already be classified as high blood pressure. The development of hypertension is caused by a variety of factors and may even be a result of another existing condition. By and large, the older you are, the greater the risk of high blood pressure as the arteries become stiffer over time. Other factors that can influence the occurrence of hypertension include but are not limited to the following:

  • hormone levels, particularly in women
  • use of certain medications and supplements
  • lifestyle habits such as smoking and alcohol consumption
  • excess body weight
  • family history of hypertension
  • stress and anxiety levels
  • your body’s ability to retain water and salt which may be influenced by one’s diet
  • in some cases, hypertension may be a result of existing conditions such as thyroid problems, disorders of the adrenal glands, pregnancy, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease

Plastic Surgery Risks Associated with High Blood Pressure

On a whole, having high blood pressure levels signify that your heart and blood vessels are experiencing too much strain. Having surgery when you’re hypertensive is like adding insult to injury to the body. The following risks and complications may be possible during and after surgery:

  • Bleeding during and after surgery, particularly if the patient is taking blood thinning medications prior to surgery
  • Hematoma or swelling filled with blood due to a breakage in a portion of the blood vessel walls
  • Heart or circulatory system problems

Can hypertension stop someone from having plastic surgery?

Yes, that is if you have uncontrolled hypertension. Here at our practice, we strongly recommend that a patient should work closely with their general doctor in putting their high blood pressure under control through medications and lifestyle revision. We can actually work with your primary care physician to make sure that you meet the criteria for undergoing surgery safely.

Take the results of this survey among plastic surgeons as an example. Here’s an excerpt from the conclusion (perioperative care translates to care before surgery):

Proper perioperative care of the facelift patient is paramount in the reduction of hematoma rates. Preexisting hypertension correlates with a higher hematoma rate, though this study also suggests that normotensive anesthesia, as well as strict postoperative blood pressure control did contribute to a reduction in hematoma rate.

Allow us to help you come up with a personalized plastic surgery plan that will put your pre-existing health conditions into consideration. Call us at 415.398.7778 or fill out this contact form today to schedule an appointment. We look forward to helping you improve your life through cosmetic surgery!


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