Risks of cosmetic surgery
Cosmetic surgery has a low rate of complications among board certified plastic surgeons. However, every surgery carries risk. Be sure to discuss the possible risks and complications with your plastic surgeon so you feel fully informed before surgery.
A good candidate for plastic surgery is in good overall health and has the psychological stability to deal with the recovery period. There is often some post-op pain or discomfort, temporary bruising and swelling, some restriction on activity, and some work-time lost.
Some patients have serious reactions to the anesthesia or sedation used during surgery. Most anesthetic complications occur with general anesthesia.
Abnormal heart rhythm
Airway obstruction – Anesthesia can sometimes irritate air passages, causing the vocal cords to spasm and this can block the airway
Brain damage – Brain damage can occur if blood circulation is depressed at dangerous levels
Malignant hyperthermia – This is a rare complication where body temperature, blood pressure and heart rate all rise to hyperactive levels. If not recognized and treated quickly, can lead to death. This may be inherited
Temporary paralysis – This occurs if muscle relaxants have not fully worn off after surgery. It is easy to detect and easily treatable
Patients who have heart trouble, lung disease or are obese are at greater risk of complications due to anesthesia. To reduce your risk, tell your doctor about any medications you are on and let her know your complete medical history.
Specific Procedure complications:
Skin Death or Necrosis: usually follows an infection or hematoma and is much more likely among smokers. The skin is excised (surgically removed) and this may affect the cosmetic outcome.
Asymmetry: moderate or severe asymmetries may require a second surgery. Mild asymmetry is normal.
Slow Healing: due to age, skin type, failure to follow doctor’s advice or factors beyond anyone’s control.
Numbness/Tingling: often temporary, sometimes permanent loss of sensation. This results from injury to sensory or motor nerves.
Irregularities, dimples, puckers, and divots: can be due to surgeon error, healing irregularities or body make-up.
Seroma: fluid can collect under the skin and can occur after breast augmentation, liposuction or a tummy tuck
Infection: The risk of infection is less than 1% and antibiotics reduce this risk dramatically. However, if infection does occur, it is very serious. People who smoke, take steroids or have certain vascular conditions are at greater risk. The longer your surgery lasts and the more blood you lose, the more likely you are to have an infection.