Plastic surgery is a major surgery and like all other major surgeries, carries risks and poses side effects. While not all of these conditions will likely be relevant to your surgery, it’s important to know the risk involved. Talk directly to a surgeon to learn more about your specific side effects.
- Infection – All surgeries carry risk of infection. The risk in breast augmentation patients, for example, is 2-4%. Your surgeon will give you instructions on how to reduce the risk of infection, including keeping the incision clean and maintain a healthy diet.
- Unhappiness – Many patients aren’t prepared for what their new body or face will look like and long for their old look back. You should be certain that surgery is what you want and know how different you will appear.
- Mistakes – Particularly if patients don’t do their research about their plastic surgeon, mistakes can happen. Breasts can be asymmetrical, the nose could be too big or small, or you may feel that you look overdone after a facelift. The emotional and financial consequences of additional procedures to fix mistakes can be too much for some patients.
- Blood complications – Blood loss, seroma, and pulmonary embolisms are rare, but possible. Blood loss can lead to a drop in blood pressure, seroma happens when your blood pools beneath the surface, looking like a large blister, and pulmonary embolisms are essentially blood clots.
- Anesthesia complications – Sometimes general anesthesia can lead to complications including infection, stroke, heart attack, or waking up confused and disoriented.
- Proportion issues – Some patients find that when they flatten their stomach, their hips look too wide, or if they plump their lips, the nose looks too big. Patients should have realistic expectations about how their surgery will affect their perception of other parts of their body.
- Scarring – Most plastic surgeons are able to hide scarring, in the hairline, under the breast, or in the areola. However, there is always a risk of scarring.
- Nerve damage – Nerve damage is rare but permanent. It can happen if a surgeon accidentally cuts a nerve during surgery. For example, during breast augmentation surgery, nerves leading to the nipple can be damaged, leading to a loss of sensation.
Some side effects from plastic surgery are physical and some are mental. It’s important to have realistic expectations about surgery and to be generally pleased with you appearance. Plastic surgery sees the highest success rate when patients know that plastic surgery won’t fix all of their problems, but will help them feel younger, healthier, and more confident. To understand your risks for side effects during plastic surgery, talk with a surgeon.