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Risks of Plastic Surgery

With all of the benefits of plastic surgery shown on television and from testimonials, you might think plastic surgery will solve all your life’s problems. But the risks of plastic surgery are always present and you should be aware of what the potential drawbacks can be when planning for your transformation.

No surgery is risk free, but fortunately, in the hands of an experienced surgeon, complications are seldom and usually correctable. Your plastic surgeon can and should do several things to minimize your chances of unwanted results.

He or she will screen you carefully to make sure you're physically and emotionally a good candidate for cosmetic surgery.

You'll be asked to stop medications before surgery that can promote bleeding, and in some cases, your doctor will require you to obtain medical clearance from your primary care physician to make certain that it is safe to proceed.

Your surgeon will also give you specific pre- and post-operative instructions that are carefully designed to minimize your risk of complications. While serious complications are rare, they do occur from time to time, even with the most careful plastic surgeons under the strictest conditions.

With any operation during which the skin is cut, a scar will inevitably form. Bleeding and hematomas (blood collections under the skin), infections, or seromas (fluid collections under the skin) are possible complications of surgery, and are usually easily treated when discovered early.

Skin rashes or reactions to the sutures or anesthesia are also possible complications of plastic surgery. These primary complications when unidentified or left untreated can lead to wound separation, sloughing of the skin or death of deeper tissues.

Finally, damage to nerves may result in changes in sensation of the skin or movement of the affected muscles. There may be additional risks that are specific to each procedure.Those with the least risk of complications are in excellent health, abide by medication guidelines given by their plastic surgeon, and strictly adhere to pre- and post-operative instructions.

Many common medications, herbal supplements, vitamin E, and even alcohol can contribute to bleeding tendencies, as can uncontrolled high blood pressure. (see preparing for surgery and aspirin list) In fact, anything that increases your blood pressure and heart rate such as exercise, straining, vomiting, or leaning forward can increase your risk for bleeding.

Infection is another possible complication, with the highest risk 72 hours after surgery. Bacteria can enter the body during surgery, or after surgery through suture and drain sites or by way of open wounds. If you have surgery or skin procedures around the mouth, you may be given anit-viral medication before surgery to prevent a viral infection causing a Herpes outbreak.

A suture abscess occurs when bacteria enter the area around the suture and cause a small-scale infection. This can manifest as redness, tenderness and pus around the suture. If left untreated, the infection may spread through the skin.