Plavix is a blood thinner that is pretty common. It is often used for patients with heart problems or those who have had a stent placed into a coronary (heart) vessel.
Plavix works great in preventing blood clots. We can tell that a patient is taking Plavix while we are operating on them. This is very different from Coumadin (warfarin) which is a different type of blood thinner that makes no difference at all during the operation.
Taking Plavix provides a theoretical increase risk of bleeding after all types of surgery. We have never had a patient have a postoperative bleeding issue or hematoma because they were taking Plavix (or Coumadin), but taking them does increase this risk. The increased risk is small because we do this operation all day every day and know how to avoid these problems in almost all cases.
We strongly prefer that patients are off of Plavix for 5 days prior to parathyroid surgery. However, if your cardiologist says you can’t stop it, then we will still operate on you to remove your parathyroid tumor. We do things a little different, but yes, we can still do your parathyroid operation if you are still taking Plavix. We’d prefer not to, however.
When to re-start the Plavix?
If you stop Plavix 5 days prior to surgery like we want, then you can start it again the very next day after surgery.