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Now more than ever, Americans are considering plastic surgery as an option to rediscover the body of their dreams, aid in their pursuit of health, and restore their self-confidence and positive body image. Over 6.5 billion dollars were spent in 2017 alone, and that number has only increased in the following years.

As a result of plastic surgery experiencing an ever-increasing level of popularity, the pros and cons are both greatly exaggerated. There is high praise, and fear mongering on both sides. On the one hand, there’s no story worth re-sharing and gossiping over more than the tale of a friend’s botched boob job; on the other, nothing makes a group of women rave more than a session with a plastic surgeon who helps them finally get rid of their wrinkles once and for all!

It’s important to have a balanced view of plastic surgery, and it’s helpful to know of some possible complications that may occur after you undergo surgery. Knowing about these top 10 plastic surgery complications will help inform what procedures you choose to undergo, who you trust to perform them, and what you can do if one of these complications does happen to you.

The 10 Most Common Complications Of Plastic Surgery

1. Reactions to Anesthesia

For most plastic surgeries, you will be given a local or general anesthetic, to numb the area being targeted, and to make you comfortable during the procedure. General anesthesia can sometimes lead to complications, not limited to but including lung infections, strokes, heart attacks, and even death. It’s possible that the anesthesia doesn’t “take” correctly, sometimes called “anesthesia awareness”, which is when a patient awakens in the middle of surgery. This is a very uncommon occurrence, but is still a possibility. 

Some other more common side effects of anesthesia are confusion or disorientation upon awakening, shivering or shaking, and vomiting.

Making sure you and your doctor are on the same page and having a clear vision and understanding of what the procedure and outcomes will be will help ensure that you are ecstatic as your enhanced body reaches it’s final result.

2. Scarring

Because many plastic surgeries will involve incisions, there is a possibility of scarring. Of course, choosing a professional, board-certified doctor who takes the potential of scars into account will dramatically affect the outcome. However, even the best doctors sometimes need to make incisions that will leave scars, and that is something to consider.

3. The Final Result

After spending time, money, and energy in order to give you the body you’ve always been hoping for, you may find yourself disappointed with the final results. Although research has shown that most patient who undergo cosmetic surgery, particularly women who have breast augmentation surgery, are satisfied, it is still possible that you may be disappointed with your surgery outcome. Making sure you and your doctor are on the same page and having a clear vision and understanding of what the procedure and outcomes will be will help ensure that you are ecstatic as your enhanced body reaches its final result.

4. Blood Clots

There is a condition called Deep Vein Thrombosis (or DVT), in which blood clots begin to form, usually in deep leg veins. When these clots travel through the veins to the lungs, it is called pulmonary embolism (or PE). This can be potentially fatal, and it is extremely important to be on the lookout for any symptoms. 

Reports of these kinds of blood clots forming are not common, however, patients of abdominoplastic surgery are the most likely to see these kinds of complications. The risk of deep vein thrombosis occurring in a patient who is going through multiple surgeries is five times higher than that of a patient having only one procedure. When it comes to surgery, less is often more. Consider tackling one change at a time, allowing your body to fully heal, then addressing other parts that you want to improve later on. 

The risk of deep vein thrombosis occurring in a patient who is going through multiple surgeries is five times higher than that of a patient having only one procedure

5. Organ Damage

Because liposuction is an intrusive surgery involving an internal probe, there is a risk of the probe puncturing or otherwise injuring internal organs. This trauma can require surgery to repair, which is in turn, possibly life threatening.

6. Hematoma

A hematoma is when a small pocket of blood collects beneath the skin, which forms a large, painful bruise on the surface. This appears in 1% of breast augmentation surgeries, and in 1% of face lift surgeries, particularly in male patients. Hematoma is a potential threat in almost every kind of surgery. To treat a hematoma, you may require another surgery entirely to drain the blood, if your doctor deems it necessary.

7. Blood Loss or Hemorrhaging

Any and every surgery is expected to cause some loss of blood, however, there is the chance that a dramatic loss of blood could result in a blood pressure plummet, which can be fatal. There is a chance of bleeding excessively during the operation, or even during recovery, particularly if there is an internal injury.

Hematoma only occurs in 1% of breast augmentation surgeries and 1% of face lifts.

8. Seroma

Seroma is a side effect that appears as a result of body fluid collecting beneath the skin, which causes painful swelling. It is the most common complication that appears during recovery from a tummy tuck, being reported in 15 to 30 percent of tummy tuck clients.
Your doctor may be concerned if you begin to show signs of infection, and may send you to have the seroma drained with a needle. This will take away immediate symptoms, but it may reappear.

9. Infection

Despite all you and your doctor’s attempts to prevent it, you may experience infection after your procedure. It may require as simple a treatment as an over the counter anti-inflammatory, or it may require you to get antibiotics intravenously. Cellulitis is a skin infection that may occur as well.

Be on the lookout for any tingling or numbness, these can be signs of nerve damage that should be reported to your doctor right away.

10. Nerve Damage

Because you are signing up for major surgery, there is always a chance that something will get damaged. Be on the lookout for any tingling or numbness, these can be signs of nerve damage that should be reported immediately. Usually, the nerves recover fully, but it can be permanent in some cases. Breast augmentation alters the sensitivity of nerves in breasts of 15% of women, who report a change in nipple sensation.

How Can You Avoid Complications?

These are the top ten most common complications in plastic surgery, but these occur in only 1% of all plastic surgeries. To avoid experiencing any of these, make sure you find a doctor that you trust, who is board certified, professional, has years of experience, and makes you feel comfortable. 

Ask questions if you have worries or concerns, and make sure you and your doctor are completely on the same page. This will help you to make sure your expectations are accurate, and your results are everything you hoped for, and more!

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