In the study, the incidence of hematoma in male patients significantly dropped to 3.97 percent from 8.7 percent once all patients followed a strict blood pressure control regimen.
"Blood vessels are like plumbing. If the pressure is too high in your water pipes, they are going to start leaking. It is the same in people. After surgery, if a person's blood pressure is too high, it will cause the little vessels in that area to bleed," said Daniel Baker, MD, ASPS member and study author.
A hematoma is an abnormal, localized collection of clotted blood. One of the most common complications following a facelift, hematomas are not life threatening, easily corrected and rarely interfere with final results if addressed by a plastic surgeon within 24 hours. If a hematoma occurs and is addressed quickly, it does not impact healing time.
Men are more likely to suffer from hematomas than women after a facelift due to skin differences. Men have thicker skin than women and more blood vessels, which requires more blood flow. The hair follicles on men's faces produce the fastest-growing hair on a man's body, also requiring a greater blood supply.
To decrease the risk of hematoma, all patients should undergo a careful preoperative evaluation by their plastic surgeon, as well as manage and stabilize their blood pressure with the help of their primary care physician. Patients can further help decrease the risk of hematoma by discontinuing all medications that can cause bleeding, including aspirin, St. John's wart, gingko and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs before surgery.
Facelifts are the fifth most popular cosmetic surgical procedure performed on men. More than 10,200 men had a facelift in 2004, accounting for nine percent of all facelifts, according to the ASPS.
"By controlling blood pressure before surgery, patients can significantly lower their risk for blood clots," said Dr. Baker. "I strongly urge men and women alike, who are considering plastic surgery, to make sure they have their blood pressure under control before undergoing any type of invasive cosmetic surgery."
For referrals to ASPS Member Surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, call 888-4-PLASTIC (475-2784) or visit www.plasticsurgery.org where you can also learn more about cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is the largest organization of board-certified plastic surgeons in the world. With more than 6,000 members, the society is recognized as a leading authority and information source on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS comprises 94 percent of all board-certified plastic surgeons in the United States. Founded in 1931, the society represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.