Intermittent compression boots keep blood from stagnating in the veins of the leg. These devices, or an injection of the blood thinner heparin, decrease the chance of deep venous thrombosis (DVTs) or blood clots forming during surgery. There really is no excuse for not using one of these preventive measures. Shockingly, in a survey of 273 plastic surgeons in 2001, only 20% appropriately used compression boots on their patients. Properly applied, they have no side effects and are inexpensive to use. Boots, or an alternative treatment, are required for any procedure lasting over thirty minutes. With higher-risk procedures, boots and heparin should be used.
More Answers from Arthur Perry, MD