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General Practice 2023

Learn what are the main risks of plastic surgery

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Learn what are the main risks of plastic surgery
Learn what are the main risks of plastic surgery

Plastic surgery can be dangerous because some complications such as infection, thrombosis or rupture of the stitches can arise. But these complications are more frequent in people who have chronic diseases, anemia or take anticoagulants such as Warphine and Aspirin, for example.

In addition, there is a greater chance of complications when the surgery lasts more than 2 hours, in case of general anesthesia or when performing a major surgery, such as abdominoplasty followed by breast implants and gluteal graft, for example.

The best way to reduce the risk of complications due to plastic surgery is to perform the procedure in a clinic or hospital, with a plastic surgeon who is a member of the Brazilian Society of Plastic Surgery and follow all their recommendations before and after operative.

7 main complications of plastic surgery

Some of the main risks of plastic surgery include:

1. Bruises and purple spots

The development of a hematoma is the most common complication of plastic surgery, which occurs due to the accumulation of blood in the operated area, causing swelling and pain. In addition, purple spots may also appear, as blood vessels rupture during surgery.

These complications can arise in all plastic surgeries, being frequent in surgeries to correct the eyelids, such as blepharoplasty, facelift or liposuction.


Although they are common and low-risk complications, they are in most cases easily treated with the use of ice or the application of ointments such as Trombofob or Hirudoid, for example, and slowly disappear up to 2 weeks after surgery.Here are some simple tips for removing bruises.

2. Liquid accumulation

When you see swelling, reddened skin, pain and a floating sensation at the scar site, you may be developing a complication called seroma.

To avoid this complication, it is essential to use a bandage, belt or compressive dressing postoperatively, rest and use a drain to remove excess fluid. In some cases, it may be necessary for a nurse to withdraw the fluid with a syringe to facilitate recovery.

3. Stitch opening

Opening the stitches

The opening of stitches or staples can cause dehiscence, which is when the edges of the tissues that have been joined together occur and the risk of developing an infection is greater and the healing time increases.

This complication can arise when the person performs excessive movements in the postoperative period, not complying with the rest recommended by the doctor and is more common in belly surgeries, such as abdominoplasty.

4. Infection

The risk of infection is most common around the scar, but an internal infection can also occur, causing symptoms such as swelling, pain, fever and pus. In addition, in the case of surgeries where the application of silicone prostheses is performed, such as breast augmentation, the prosthesis may be rejected, resulting in an infection that must be treated with the use of medication indicated by the doctor.

5. Thrombosis


When thrombus or clots form, it is normal to feel swelling and intense pain in the legs, especially in the calf, in addition to shiny and purplish skin and, if not treated quickly, clots can travel to the lungs causing pulmonary embolism, a serious condition that can be fatal.

To avoid this complication, it is essential to take anticoagulant drugs such as Enoxaparin and move your feet and legs even while you are lying down, at rest. See other ways that can help prevent leg thrombosis.

6. Deformed scars

Deformed scar

The appearance of thick, deformed scars and keloids can occur after any plastic surgery, but they are more common the larger the scar. In addition, it can also develop lumps under the skin which is caused by the formation of a hard tissue at the site, which pulls the skin.

In some cases, a retractable scar may appear, which is when the skin pulls inward and creates a hole in the operated area. The best ways to treat deformed scars are through aesthetic physiotherapy sessions or having a new plastic surgery to correct the scar.

7. Decreased sensitivity

Loss of sensitivity in the operated region and on top of the scar may occur due to swelling in the region, but this sensation decreases over time.

In addition to these 7 complications of plastic surgery, necrosis can also occur, which is tissue death due to lack of blood and oxygen and organ perforation, however these complications are rarer and are related to the inexperience of the plastic surgeon.

Main consequences of anesthesia

All plastic surgeries are performed under anesthesia to block pain and allow the doctor to perform the procedure correctly. But anesthesia can also cause other complications.

    Risks of general anesthesia

The main reactions caused by general anesthesia, which is when the patient takes medicine to sleep soundly and breathes with the aid of devices, include nausea and vomiting, urinary retention, low blood pressure, dizziness, tiredness, excessive sleepiness, tremors and headache. In more severe cases, breathing difficulty, heart attack or even death can occur, but this is rare.

To relieve the symptoms that general anesthesia can cause, nurses often give medication to relieve vomiting and reduce pain, place a urinary catheter to help urinate without difficulty, but it is also important to sleep and rest.

    Risks of epidural or spinal anesthesia

Epidural anesthesia that is applied to the spine leads to loss of sensation in a part of the abdomen, hips and legs keeping the person awake. Its consequences involve decreased sensitivity of the legs for excessive time, which increases the risk of falls and burns. In addition, decreased pressure and back pain may occur at the sting site.

    Risks of local anesthesia

Local anesthesia is the one that causes the fewest side effects, however, it can cause swelling, decreased sensation and bruising at the injection site.

Who is more likely to develop complications?

All individuals can develop complications during or after plastic surgery, but patients most likely to experience problems include:

  • Age over 60 years;
  • Chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes or sleep apnea;
  • Weak immune system such as HIV+, cancer or hepatitis;
  • People who take anticoagulants or have problems such as varicose veins, thrombosis, anemia or difficulty clotting or healing;
  • BMI greater than 29 and high amount of abdominal fat.

In addition, smokers or drug users are also more likely to have complications, and when you have had complications from other surgeries, the risk is even greater.

How to reduce the risks of plastic surgery

To avoid complications during surgery or in the postoperative period, it is essential before performing the surgery:

  • Perform medical tests such as a complete blood test and electrocardiogram. See the main exams you should do.
  • Reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke or stop smoking at least 1 month before surgery to avoid pulmonary embolism;
  • Avoid taking the pill 1 month before surgery, especially if the surgery lasts longer than 4 hours, to reduce the risk of thrombosis;
  • Stop taking some medications, such as aspirin as instructed by your doctor to avoid complications;
  • Take antibiotics before surgery, on medical recommendation.

To minimize these dangers, the individual should always choose to choose a plastic surgeon who is trained and reliable and choose a hospital or clinic that has good recognition.

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