Risks and Complications of Cosmetic Surgery

All surgery carries risk. Before committing to cosmetic surgery it is important to understand not only the general risks, but the risks specific to the procedure you wish to undergo, and any specific risks that apply to you in view of your past history of response to surgery/other medical issues.

It is important that you are aware of these complications, and that you carefully balance these risks against the benefits of your surgery before coming to a decision about whether to proceed with surgery.

Remember that complications sometimes occur, even with the best care by the best trained surgeons.

The general risks of surgery include those:

of the anaesthetic, which include:

  • rarely death ( 1 in 58,000 of all anaesthetics, including high risk patients)
  • anaphylaxis (allergic response to drugs that may be life threatening)¬†
  • postoperative¬† atelectasis and pneumonia ( which can be minimised with postoperative deep breathing exercises)
  • Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) which can be minimised by the use of intermittent calf compression stockings during surgery, post-operative compression stockings and early mobilisation
  • Respiratory failure, most often seen in patients who are overweight (BMI >30) or have chronic obstructive airway disease or sleep apnoea

during and in the immediate time after surgery, which include:

  • bleeding, which may require a blood transfusion or return to theatre
  • wound infection, which may require antibiotics
  • wound dehiscence (separation of the wound edges), which may require a return to theatre
  • DVT
  • loss of blood supply to the operated area resulting in death of some tissue (necrosis)

and late surgical complications, which include:

  • scars, which may be thick, red, raised and tender (hypertrophic) or growing beyond the original scar (keloid)
  • relapse of your tissues back towards their original shape (recurrence)
  • warping of tissues such as cartilage into an unusual shape
  • dissatisfaction with the surgical results
  • areas of altered sensation such as numbness (anaesthesia), altered sensation (paraesthesia) or painful sensations (allodynia)
  • damage to motor nerves that might leave you with a lob-sided face or crooked smile
  • permanent skin colour changes, such as hyperpigmentation,¬† hypopigmentation and redness

Specific risk factors that relate to your proposed procedure and your past medical history/response to prior surgeries will be discussed with you at your consultation with Dr Breidahl.