The Top 10 Common Complications Experienced After Cosmetic Surgery

Health & FitnessBeauty

  • Author Dr. Robert Kenevan
  • Published March 20, 2008
  • Word count 499

At the highest level of care, every surgery has risks as well as benefits. Every surgery contains some kind of risk even though complications are seldom and usually correctable.

Cosmetic surgery risks frequently have to do with the patient's health and emotional well being. If a person is not physically healthy, or has a history of illness that might boost plastic surgery risks, they should be advised against having plastic surgery

The 10 most common complications that may occur during and after surgery are:

  1. Bleeding: Blood loss is normal with any procedure. However, if there is excessive bleeding, it can create major complications. If bleeding occurs after surgery, it can accumulate under the skin and require an additional surgery. Discuss with your physician what you can expect as far as bleeding and bruising.

  2. Swelling: almost everyone experiences some swelling, which peaks at 48 hours and often significantly decreases after that point.

  3. Infection: Antibiotics reduce infection 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.

  4. Seroma: a pocket of fluid that can collect under the skin and can occur after breast augmentation, liposuction or a tummy tuck.

  5. Blood Clots (DVT): A blood clot in the veins can be fatal. They can occur as a result of a medical condition or from immobilization (which allows the blood to pool) such as pregnancy, international airplane flights, and recovery from surgery. They are difficult to predict. To help prevent them, during recovery do not stay in one position for too long and to make sure that you are up, and walking around as soon as possible after surgery. Compression garments worn reduce the risk of DVT.

  6. Drop in Blood Pressure: Some decrease in blood pressure is normal during surgery. However, a sudden drop due to blood loss could lead to irregular heart beat and other serious complications.

  7. Aspiration: Aspiration occurs if you vomit during surgery and the vomit is forced into the lungs. Aspiration can cause mild discomfort, and can also lead to infections, chronic cough, an obstruction in the lungs or pneumonia. This is why it is extremely important to not eat prior to your surgery.

  8. 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.

  9. Slow or Delayed Healing: due to age, skin type, failure to follow doctor's advice or factors beyond anyone's control.

  10. Numbness/Tingling: often temporary, sometimes permanent loss of sensation. This results from injury to sensory or motor nerves.

Although the risks and complications are rare, they can happen. That is why it is important to be honest with your cosmetic surgeon and disclose all and any information about your health, medications and any supplements you might be taking.

Copyright (c) 2008 Dr. Robert Kenevan

The Avalon Clinic for Cosmetic Surgery is located in Lakewood and Olympia, Washington. Each of our surgeons is Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and has over 20 years of experience. Patient safety and satisfaction is our #1 goal. Our art is to help patients' look and feel their best. The Avalon Clinic wants you to know that It Is Possible! Contact us at or call 1-800-408-4444!

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