4 Must-Know Risks of Cosmetic Surgery

May 7th 2016

Scarring and Infections

While surgery of all types typically results in some scarring, disfigurements due to cosmetic surgery can be especially upsetting, as the point of cosmetic surgery is generally to look better. Hypertrophic scarring may occurs, leaving behind an angry, raised, red scar. Scars can sometimes develop infections as they heal, creating even more complications.

Infections can also result from more minor procedures such as liposuction. Skin breakdown also occurs when healthy and healing skin separate from one another; this typically necessitates another procedure for repair. Because scars are inevitable in surgery, the patient should speak to the cosmetic surgeon about where and how he plans to hide the scars.

Anesthesia-Related Risks

While not all cosmetic surgery procedures require full anesthesia, those that do add another layer of possible complications to the procedure. Complications from bad reactions to anesthesia can include pneumonia and blood clots, both of which can be quite dangerous and even fatal. If blood clots form, they can travel to the lungs, resulting in fatal pulmonary embolisms.


While many people expect to see some bruising after cosmetic surgery, hematomas take this complication a step further. A hematoma occurs when blood pools in one place after the surgery, and while it may look like a bruise on the surface, it doesn't always go away on its own. Sometimes hematomas require a second procedure to drain the excess blood out of the body. This complication is most common after face lifts and also occurs after breast augmentation. Men getting cosmetic surgery of the face are more likely to develop hematomas than women because of the greater number of blood vessels surrounding their beards.

Nerve Damage

Nerve damage is a risk during any surgery, since severing small nerves is unavoidable when cutting the skin. If you experience numbness or tingling after cosmetic surgery, it could be a sign of nerve damage. Breast augmentation, in particular, is prone to subsequent nerve damage, with 15 percent of women losing all sensation in their nipples. Nerve damage in facial surgery can be particularly devastating and is often permanent.


Even though billions of dollars are spent on cosmetic surgery in the United States each year, patients are often unaware of the risks they may be facing. The risks are higher for those who have a history of smoking, obesity, cardiovascular problems, diabetes or lung disease. Before undergoing any cosmetic surgery procedure, a patient should have an honest discussion with their surgeon regarding the risks. Here are some of the most common risks involved with cosmetic surgery.

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