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Is Cosmetic Surgery Dangerous?

Cosmetic surgery is also called “going under the knife”. This entails having a surgical procedure done by a cosmetic/plastic surgeon to improve the way a body part looks. Physical appearance is not the only thing cosmetic surgery can improve. It has proven to have a positive effect on a person’s sense of worth.

Procedures such as a facelift, rhinoplasty, and breast reduction can have a great influence on an individual’s confidence and self-esteem levels. All types of surgery have risks and cosmetic surgery is not an exception. The first is the risk of anesthesia and second is the surgical procedure itself.

Plastic surgery risks vary from one person to another as well as the procedure opted by surgeons and patients. The characteristics and the patient’s health history will have immense importance. For instance, patients who suffer from certain diseases like diabetes or heavy smokers are more likely to face the dangers of the aftermath of plastic surgery.

In this day and age, the risks of complications are very rare. One has to seriously research on the probable dangers and risks involved in most plastic surgeries and treatments, such as a treatment for stress urinary incontinence prior to undergoing the operation. Scarring – While all efforts have been made to minimize them, they still do occur. Mostly those with ethnic minorities encounter this problem. Since they have darker skin, they are prone to having thicker, raised scars or keloid scars.

Health status – You need to make sure you are in top shape before the surgery, otherwise there will be increased risks during the procedure. If you are overweight or have a history of heart disease, then complications will most likely occur from a general anesthetic. Due to the raised blood pressure or an abnormal heart rhythm, complications can happen in the form of a stroke. Incidents like this may be rare, but they can still pose a threat to a person’s life.

Infection – There is less than 1% risk of infection post cosmetic surgery and antibiotics dramatically reduce this risk. If ever infection does come about, it is extremely serious. People who take steroids, smoke, or have certain vascular conditions are greatly at risk. A patient is more likely to have an infection the longer the surgery lasts and when there is severe blood loss.

Unexpected or excessive bleeding (hematoma or hemorrhage) – For a few hours following surgery, bleeding is quite a regular phenomenon, but it can sometimes result to complications. Hematoma is a condition that occurs when blood clots accumulate under the skin. A hematoma is firm in feel and appearance; overlaying skin color may change to purple or blue. Pain will be felt in the area, but it will lessen gradually when the body’s own anti-clotting mechanism begins to address the specific area and reabsorbs the accumulated blood. However, if the hematoma continually enlarges, it will constrain the surrounding tissues and disrupt the flow of oxygen through blood from circulating around the area. This may result to inflammation, swelling, numbness, and skin death. Immediate attention needs to be taken or surgery must be done to remove the coagulated blood. Furthermore, having a large hematoma can cause other issues, like wound separation, infection, and necrosis. Hernia or internal bleeding can also happen if the stitches after the cosmetic surgery come loose. The problems mentioned will require additional surgery.

Necrosis – Due to insufficient supply of oxygen to the operated area, death of tissues happens. In normal cosmetic surgeries, the risk is very rare. But in surgeries involving tummy tucks, face lifts, and breast lifts, Necrosis is possible. It intensifies with sudden inflammation. Smokers are very susceptible to this possibility due to blood vessel compression and relatively less oxygen supply. Necrosis can be treated generally in its early stages by hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Anesthesia risks – Risks caused by using anesthesia include drug or allergic reactions, respiratory failure, shock, coma, cardiac arrest, and death. The chances of these risks are very slim, but the fact that they can still happen is reason enough to be cautious. The risks will vary, depending on a number of factors, such as healthiness and seriousness of the surgery. A common feature is nausea and sore throat. Generally, though, the total risk factor of this type is very infrequent.

Paralysis or less severe nerve damage – In very extreme, though infrequent cases, nerve damage can occur characterized by tingling sensation and numbness. Generally, nerve damage won’t last more than a year. If a nerve related to a muscle movement is impaired, weakness or paralysis of certain muscles may be experienced. Reconstructive surgery can be done to treat it.

Unhealthy personal habits – Our biggest enemy is cigarette smoking. Particularly in face and neck lifting where large areas of skin are altered from one location to another. The patient carries great risks for infection and scarring, lack of healing, and skin breakdown if they continue to smoke at the time of the operation. If a patient has substantial liver dysfunction, maybe because of a long history of drug ingestion or drinking, then anesthesia is a no-go.

Dissatisfaction with results/need for secondary surgery – Unlike most surgeries that are “medically necessary”, not every cosmetic surgery, such as vaginal dryness treatment is successful; plastic surgery’s success is quite subjective. There are a number of known unsatisfactory aesthetic results (including excessive or unfavorable scarring, asymmetry, contour irregularities, and others) and some patients have found it to be disheartening and even devastating. The worst can happen to the unluckiest of patients who have been left with damage to the vital tissues, persistent pain, and localized paralysis/nerve damage.

Psychological and social risk – A patient’s pre-op expectations as well as his or her pre-op mental and emotional state contributes to the potential adverse psychological and social effects of plastic surgery. While plastic surgery can provide a person with positive rewards, it is also important to understand that it will not change your problems, life, relationships, and that there is no such thing as physical flawlessness.

Potential risks and issues can be mitigated by doing your research and becoming a well-informed patient. Price should not be the foremost determining factor when selecting a cosmetic surgeon. Check references and credentials; also ask a lot of questions. Make sure you go into surgery physically and emotionally ready. Prior to the operation, take good care of yourself and do not allow your desire for cosmetic surgery overshadows any serious health considerations.