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Risks of complications and side effects in plastic surgery

4 min read

All surgeries involve risks of side effects and complications. Plastic surgery is no exception.

When you choose to undergo plastic surgery, you take two risks.

  • To be dissatisfied with the result. This is a cosmetic risk.
  • To suffer from unwanted complications and side effects. This is a health risk.

Aesthetic risks

The risk you as a patient are most likely to suffer from is dissatisfaction with the results. Not achieving the goals one imagined.

Asymmetries

Other aesthetic complications that a patient must deal with are so-called asymmetries, differences between the shape/size of two pairs of organs, for example during a hip augmentation, fat transfer to hips ends up with both hips looking different to each other.

Scars and skin imperfections

Other examples of aesthetic complications are that the patient experiences the surgical scar as more prominent than he/she imagined or that a certain unevenness and/or a color difference in the skin arises.

This is how you reduce the risk of dissatisfaction

Since the aesthetic risks are largely based on the individual’s own experience, clarity in the communication between the plastic surgeon and the patient is extremely important.

  • In many cases, pictures that the patient takes with them can be very helpful.
  • In others, computer simulation can be used, which has proven to be a very valuable tool.

Make sure your plastic surgeon fully understands what you want to change, and as far as possible, exactly what changes you expect.

It is also important that you as a patient have the attitude that you perform the operation to improve something and not to achieve perfection. Also, do not expect your surroundings to treat you differently and for the same reason do the procedure for your own sake, not for someone else’s.

Health risks in plastic surgery

Bleeding

It is possible, but uncommon, for bleeding to occur during or after surgery. During the operation, the risk is normally minimized by staying away from large blood vessels, using vasoconstrictor medications, and quickly coagulating small bleeding vessels using a special instrument.

  • In cases where post-bleeding occurs under the skin, it usually occurs within a couple of hours up to a day after surgery.
  • An after-bleed needs to be emptied and a small drainage hose inserted. In very rare cases, there may be a need for blood transfusions.

To reduce the risk of bleeding, do not take blood thinners such as magnecyl or similar anti-inflammatory drugs. You should also not drink alcohol within ten days before your surgery. Even some herbs that can be obtained without a prescription can increase the tendency to bleed.

Infection

Infections are uncommon in plastic surgery, but if they do occur, they should be treated with antibiotics. In rare cases, hospital treatment and additional surgery may be needed.

  • Many surgeons prefer to limit the risk of infection by providing preventative antibiotic treatment for certain procedures.
  • If an infection occurs, it often does not appear until 3-7 days after surgery.
  • Symptoms of infection are increasing pain, elevated temperature and/or swelling in the surgical area, redness, and fever.
  • Poor wound healing

The wound healing process may not proceed as it should. This can manifest itself in the form of, slow healing, wound opening, or delayed healing.

If a serious infection occurs in or under the skin, you can get tissue damage. In extreme cases, the skin can go into so-called necrosis (tissue death).

Poor wound healing may require frequent wound dressings and in some cases corrective surgery at a later time. Smokers are at increased risk for skin healing problems.

Swelling

When the body heals a major injury, swelling occurs. This is completely normal. However, excessive swelling can be a sign of a problem.

  • If you suffer from excessive swelling, it must be examined at the clinic, the operation has been performed.
  • As swelling as a complication is difficult to predict, it is important that the evaluation of the end result takes place only after 9-12 months after surgery.

Feeling changes

Since you also cut through nerve pathways during the incision during surgery, you may experience a changed or lost feeling in the surgical area after the operation.

After an operation, new nerve pathways are built up. Normally, the emotional changes return to normal within a couple of months. However, the feeling does not always return completely and in some cases, it can be lost completely.

Scar

In all procedures where the skin is penetrated, scars appear to some extent. However, what the scars will eventually look like is difficult to predict as they are largely affected by the patient’s own healing process and treatment while it is taking place.

  • Normally, the scars are first red and firm to gradually soften and fade.
  • In exceptional cases, however, the skin heals in an unforeseen way with thick, wide scars as a result.

In some cases, this can be corrected by treating the scars with cortisone. In other cases, they may need to be treated by additional surgery in a so-called scar plastic surgery.

Allergic reactions

In rare cases, various allergic reactions may occur. These can occur locally or and are caused by various things such as tape, suture material, or agents applied to the skin.

Allergic reactions can also be triggered by medications and spread throughout the body. Such a central reaction can be serious. It is therefore important that you state any allergies or hypersensitivity in your health profile at your consultation. In some cases, allergic reactions require further treatment.

Local anesthesia and anesthesia

  • Both local anesthesia and anesthesia involve risks.
  • There is a possible risk of complications and injuries related to anesthesia.
  • In very rare cases, there is a risk of dying from all forms of anesthesia and anesthesia.
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