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Patient Blood Management and Plastic Surgery

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An Interview with Sandeep Kathju, MD

Sandeep Kathju, MD, specializes in plastic surgery and is on staff at UPMC Passavant – Cranberry.

Why do you feel that reducing blood loss/transfusion requirements for all patients is important?

Reducing blood loss during surgery, and especially during plastic surgery procedures, is critical in that it can potentially improve healing. In general, surgical wounds heal better with increased blood delivery to the tissues.

By reducing blood loss, we are better able to deliver a solid blood supply to the affected tissues.

Are there any surgical techniques that you employ to reduce blood loss?

The most important factor in minimizing blood loss during plastic surgery is meticulous attention on the part of the surgeon to this aspect of the operation.

We employ all the standard tools of surgical technique – the electrocautery and harmonic scalpel devices, suture ligation of blood vessels, application of surgical clips, use of vasoconstrictive agents – to maximally control bleeding as the surgery proceeds. In this way, it is usually possible to significantly reduce the blood loss anticipated from any surgical procedure.

How do you feel about treating patients who are unable to receive a transfusion?

We recognize the importance of providing the best possible care according to the needs and principles of the individual patient. We understand that for some patients, avoiding transfusions of blood or selected blood products is essential, and we will work with those patients to arrive at a treatment plan that respects those wishes.

Fortunately, in most plastic surgery procedures, the risk of large-volume blood loss is generally low.

What kind of services do you offer, and how can a patient have you evaluate a his or her case?

We offer the full range of plastic surgery services , including general reconstructive procedures (for example, after trauma or other surgeries), procedures to remove lesions and tumors and treatments for nonhealing wounds and ulcers, as well as the full spectrum of cosmetic procedures.

Patients may contact my office at 412-624-2924.

For a patient who refuses transfusions, it would be optimal to contact the Center for Bloodless Medicine and Surgery at UPMC at 877-674-7111 prior to scheduling an appointment.