Health Complications Of Plastic Surgery

In recent years, there has been a remarkable surge in the popularity of plastic surgery. The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) recently published the findings of its yearly Global Survey on Aesthetic/Cosmetic Procedures, revealing a significant growth of 19.3% in the total number of procedures conducted by plastic surgeons in 2021. The data indicated that over 12.8 million surgical procedures and 17.5 million non-surgical interventions were carried out globally during that period. 

As social media platforms continue to influence beauty standards, more individuals seek to enhance their appearance through surgical and non-surgical interventions. While many are pleased with the outcomes, it’s crucial to understand that these procedures come with potential risks and complications. This article aims to educate readers on some of the top health complications associated with plastic surgery, empowering them to make informed decisions about their bodies.

  1. Infection: A Common Yet Serious Complication

One of the most common yet potentially serious complications of plastic surgery is infection. Infections can occur when bacteria enter the body through surgery incisions or aftercare instructions aren’t followed. Symptoms of infection may include redness, swelling, warmth, pain, and discharge at the surgical site, as well as fever and chills.

Infections can lead to severe consequences such as abscess formation, tissue necrosis, or even sepsis, a life-threatening condition if left untreated. It’s crucial to choose a qualified surgeon who maintains strict standards of hygiene and cleanliness in their practice, to minimize the risk of infection. Additionally, adhering to post-operative care instructions, such as keeping the surgical site clean and dry, avoiding submersion in water, and taking prescribed antibiotics, is vital to ensuring a smooth recovery.

  1. The Dark Side of Enhancements

As people strive for the perfect figure, some turn to procedures that promise quick and significant results, such as silicone injection in buttocks. However, opting for these seemingly simple solutions can come with a dark side. Complications related to silicone injections include infections, granulomas, and silicone migration, which can lead to severe health issues. For instance, infections may require additional surgeries or strong antibiotics. At the same time, granulomas and silicone migration can cause disfigurement, pain, and even life-threatening complications. It is essential to choose qualified professionals and only use FDA-approved materials. Always prioritize your health and safety when considering any cosmetic enhancement.

  1. Hematoma and Seroma: Unwanted Fluid Collections

Hematoma and seroma are common complications following plastic surgery. A hematoma is a collection of blood outside the blood vessels. A seroma is a buildup of clear, yellowish fluid called serous fluid. Both conditions can form when the body’s natural response to tissue injury disrupts during surgery.

Hematomas and seromas usually develop within the first few day’s post-surgery. They may cause swelling, pain, and redness at the surgical site. If left untreated, they can lead to infection, delayed healing, or even tissue death. Large hematomas may sometimes require surgical drainage, while the body can absorb smaller ones over time. Conversely, seromas may need to be aspirated, which involves removing the fluid with a needle and syringe.

Recent studies suggest that patients undergoing certain procedures, such as abdominoplasty or breast augmentation, may be at a higher risk for developing hematomas and seromas. To minimize these risks, surgeons often use preventive measures, such as placing drains or using compression garments. Moreover, patients should diligently follow post-operative instructions, including avoiding strenuous activities and promptly reporting unusual symptoms to their surgeon.

  1. Scarring: A Lasting Reminder of Surgery

Scarring is an inevitable outcome of any surgical procedure. Still, excessive, or unsightly scars can cause complications when it comes to plastic surgery. Factors such as the patient’s skin type, age, and genetics, as well as the surgeon’s technique and the procedure itself, can affect the severity of scarring. Several patients claim to have experienced scarring after breast augmentation surgery. However, most were mild or moderate.

To minimize scarring, surgeons often employ precise suturing techniques and make incisions in less visible areas. Patients can also follow proper aftercare instructions, such as keeping the wound clean, avoiding sun exposure, and applying silicone-based scar treatments. In cases of severe scarring, additional treatments like laser therapy or corticosteroid injections may be recommended.

The body’s natural healing process plays a significant role in the final appearance of scars. Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition for developing hypertrophic or keloid scars, which are raised, thick, and sometimes painful.

To further minimize the risk of adverse scarring, patients can adopt healthy habits such as maintaining a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and refraining from smoking, as these factors can significantly impact the body’s ability to heal. Additionally, patients should avoid exposing the healing scar to extreme temperatures, as this can exacerbate the scarring process.

In cases where scarring is unavoidable or severe despite preventative measures, patients can explore more advanced scar management techniques under the guidance of their plastic surgeon or a dermatologist. Options may include micro-needling, dermabrasion, or fat grafting to improve the appearance of the scar and promote a more aesthetically pleasing outcome. By proactively addressing scarring concerns and implementing a comprehensive scar management plan, patients can enhance their overall satisfaction with their plastic surgery results.

  1. Anesthesia Complications: The Risks Beneath the Surface

Anesthesia is crucial in ensuring patient comfort and safety during plastic surgery. However, complications can arise in some cases. They include allergic reactions to anesthesia drugs and respiratory problems, such as bronchospasm or laryngospasm. A thorough preoperative assessment must identify patient-specific factors that may increase complication susceptibility. Patients should be forthcoming about their medical history, allergies, and any medications they are taking.

  1. Nerve Damage: The Hidden Consequence

Nerve damage can occur during surgical procedures, including plastic surgery, when nerves are inadvertently cut, stretched, or compressed. Symptoms of nerve damage may include numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness or paralysis. In many cases, nerve damage is temporary and resolves over time. However, in some cases, it can be permanent. Treatment options for nerve damage can include physical therapy, medications to manage pain, and, in severe cases, additional surgery to repair damaged nerves. 


It is crucial for individuals considering plastic surgery to be aware of the potential health complications associated with these procedures. By understanding the risks, such as infection, complications from silicone injections, hematoma and seroma formation, scarring, anesthesia complications, and nerve damage, patients can make informed decisions about whether to undergo surgery and which procedures are most appropriate for them. 

Thorough research and consultation with qualified professionals are essential to decision-making. Patients should seek out board-certified plastic surgeons with experience in their desired procedure and discuss any concerns or questions about the surgery and its potential complications. A comprehensive preoperative evaluation, including a review of the patient’s medical history, can further help minimize risks.

By Caitlyn

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