What Are The Risks Associated With Plastic Surgery?

Thinking about getting plastic surgery? It’s important to be aware of the potential risks that come with it. From infections and scarring to anesthesia complications, there are several factors that can make plastic surgery a risky endeavor. Before you make any decisions, take a moment to understand these risks so you can make an informed choice that prioritizes your health and well-being.


Plastic surgery, like any surgical procedure, carries the risk of infection. Infection occurs when bacteria or other microorganisms enter the body through incisions made during surgery. Factors that increase the risk of infection include poor hygiene, smoking, a weakened immune system, and certain medical conditions such as diabetes.

If an infection develops, it can cause symptoms such as redness, swelling, pain, and discharge at the surgical site. In severe cases, it may lead to complications such as abscess formation or the spread of infection to other parts of the body.

To prevent infections, your surgeon will take several precautions. They will ensure that all instruments and equipment are sterile and that proper hygiene protocols are followed. They may also prescribe antibiotics before and after surgery to reduce the risk of infection.

Anesthesia-related complications

Anesthesia is an essential part of plastic surgery procedures, but it can also have its own set of risks and complications. Allergic reactions to anesthesia medications are rare but can potentially be life-threatening. Your surgeon will carefully review your medical history and perform allergy tests to identify any known allergies.

Adverse effects of anesthesia can include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and confusion. These side effects are usually temporary and resolve on their own. However, some individuals may experience prolonged effects, such as respiratory problems, nerve damage, or cardiovascular complications.

To ensure your safety, your surgeon will evaluate your medical history and conduct a thorough physical examination before proceeding with anesthesia. During the surgery, a qualified anesthesiologist will monitor your vital signs and adjust the anesthesia accordingly.


Scarring is a natural part of the healing process after plastic surgery. However, some individuals may develop more noticeable scars than others. There are two common forms of abnormal scarring: hypertrophic scars and keloid scars.

Hypertrophic scars occur when the body produces too much collagen during the healing process, resulting in raised, red, and sometimes itchy scars. Keloid scars, on the other hand, extend beyond the boundaries of the original incision and can be more pronounced than hypertrophic scars.

To minimize scar appearance, your surgeon may utilize techniques such as meticulous wound closure, suturing techniques, and the application of silicone sheets or gels. Additionally, they may recommend scar massage, topical medications, or laser treatments to encourage proper healing and reduce scar visibility.


A hematoma is a collection of blood that forms underneath the skin after surgery. It is most commonly caused by damage to blood vessels during the surgical procedure. Certain factors, such as high blood pressure, use of blood-thinning medications, or excessive physical activity after surgery, can increase the risk of developing a hematoma.

Signs and symptoms of a hematoma include significant swelling, pain, and a firm or tense sensation at the surgical site. If left untreated, a hematoma can lead to complications such as infection or tissue damage.

Treatment options for a hematoma may involve draining the accumulated blood through a small incision or using compression dressings to reduce swelling. Your surgeon will closely monitor your recovery and address any concerns related to hematoma formation.


A seroma is another potential complication of plastic surgery. It is a collection of clear fluid that accumulates under the skin, often in the surgical area. Several risk factors can contribute to seroma formation, including extensive tissue dissection, inadequate drainage, and excessive movement or activity after surgery.

Symptoms of a seroma may include swelling, discomfort, and a feeling of fluid moving beneath the skin. It is important to differentiate seromas from other post-surgical fluid accumulations, such as hematomas or infections, to ensure appropriate management.

Management of a seroma may involve draining the fluid using a needle or making a small incision to allow the fluid to escape. Compression garments or dressings may be used to provide support and aid the healing process. Your surgeon will closely monitor your recovery and address any seromas that may develop.

Nerve damage

Nerve damage is a potential risk associated with plastic surgery, particularly procedures involving the face or body. There are two main types of nerve damage that can occur: sensory nerve damage and motor nerve damage.

Sensory nerve damage refers to a loss or alteration of sensation in the treated area. Motor nerve damage, on the other hand, can lead to muscle weakness or paralysis. These complications can occur due to accidental injury to nerves during surgery or as a result of pressure on nerves from swelling or compressed tissues.

The effects of nerve damage on functionality can vary depending on the location and extent of the damage. For example, nerve damage in the face can lead to difficulty moving facial muscles or loss of sensation. In extreme cases, nerve damage can be permanent, requiring ongoing management and rehabilitation.

Treatment and recovery for nerve damage will depend on the specific type and extent of the injury. Your surgeon will closely monitor your progress and may refer you to a specialist, such as a neurologist or physiotherapist, to aid in your recovery and maximize functional outcomes.


Bleeding is a common concern after plastic surgery, as surgical procedures involve making incisions that may sever blood vessels. Excessive bleeding can occur due to various causes, such as inadequate clotting, the use of blood-thinning medications, or excessive physical activity.

Signs and symptoms of excessive bleeding may include continuous bleeding from the surgical site, significant swelling, or blood pooling underneath the skin. It is essential to address bleeding promptly to prevent complications such as hematoma formation or infection.

Interventions to control bleeding may range from applying direct pressure to the surgical site to re-operating to secure bleeding vessels. Your surgeon will carefully monitor your recovery and take appropriate measures to manage bleeding if it occurs.

Delayed wound healing

Delayed wound healing can be a concern following plastic surgery. Several factors can affect the wound healing process, including poor blood circulation, infections, chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, and certain lifestyle habits like smoking.

To promote optimal wound healing, your surgeon will provide detailed post-surgical wound care instructions. This may include proper wound cleansing, dressing changes, and avoiding activities that could disrupt the healing process. They may also prescribe medications or recommend lifestyle modifications to enhance the healing process.

In some cases, delayed wound healing may require additional treatments, such as debridement of non-healing tissue or the use of specialized dressings or wound healing products. Your surgeon will closely monitor your wound healing progress and address any concerns that may arise.

Organ damage

Plastic surgery procedures carry specific risks to internal organs, depending on the type of procedure being performed. For example, procedures involving the abdomen or chest may pose risks to organs such as the lungs, liver, or intestines.

Signs and symptoms of organ damage can vary depending on the affected organ. For example, damage to the lungs may result in breathing difficulties or chest pain, while damage to the liver may lead to jaundice or abdominal discomfort.

If organ damage is suspected, immediate medical intervention is necessary. Surgical repair or other medical treatments may be required to address the damage and prevent further complications. Your surgeon will take precautions and closely monitor your condition during and after surgery to minimize the risk of organ damage.

Psychological effects

Undergoing plastic surgery can have psychological effects on individuals, especially when their expectations are not met or when they experience complications. It is crucial to be aware of these potential psychological impacts and to have appropriate support systems in place.

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a psychological condition in which individuals have a distorted perception of their appearance and become preoccupied with perceived flaws. Some individuals may seek plastic surgery as a means to alleviate their distress but may end up with unrealistic expectations or become dissatisfied despite the procedure’s success.

Depression and anxiety are common psychological effects that can arise from the stress and emotional impact of undergoing plastic surgery. Pre-surgical counseling and post-operative psychological support can be valuable in addressing these concerns and ensuring overall well-being.

Coping mechanisms such as engaging in self-care activities, seeking support from loved ones, and participating in therapy or support groups can help individuals navigate the psychological aspects of their plastic surgery journey. It is essential to have open and honest communication with your surgeon and mental health professionals to address any concerns or challenges that may arise.