Is there something about your appearance that you are insecure about? Most of us have something about our body that we would like to fix – increase the size of our breasts, fix the shape of our nose, trim down our waistline, or obtain a curvier, sexier bottom. Thankfully, there are plastic surgery procedures that can fix all of these things, and plastic surgery prices for all procedures have some down significantly, making them affordable to most people. Plastic surgery allows people to fix things about their appearance that they are self conscious about, shooting their confidence and self esteem through the roof. While plastic surgery provides amazing results, many people worry about potential risks of plastic surgery. All types of plastic surgery will come with risks, however, plastic surgery risks vary a lot from procedure to procedure. In this article, we will discuss plastic surgery risks for some of the most common plastic surgery procedures – breast augmentation, liposuction, blepharoplasty (lower eyelid surgery), rhinoplasty, tummy tuck, and breast reduction/breast lift.
Main Plastic Surgery Risks at a Glance
The main risks of plastic surgery are infection, bleeding, scarring, and undesirable results. The risk of each of these varies a lot from procedure to procedure—some are extremely safe, and other surgeries are far more complex and riskier. However, serious plastic surgery risks such as infection and bleeding are extremely low for all procedures, assuming that the surgery was performed by a quality doctor. Plastic surgery risks such as scarring and undesirable results are more common.
The scars can vary a lot depending on the procedure – liposuction scars are only mildly visible from the day after the surgery, and over the course of six months to a year, will completely vanish (with proper care). Tummy tuck scars, on the other hand, are very large and while they will fade dramatically with proper care, there will always be the appearance of some amount of scarring.
Undesirable results can vary a lot from procedure to procedure. Some people are simply no happy with their new look after surgery as it did not meet their expectations. Some examples may be: For breast augmentation, the breasts may be uneven (one implant sitting slightly higher than the other); for a tummy tuck, maybe not quite all of the loose skin was removed; for rhinoplasty, the flaws of the nose may not have been corrected enough to satisfy what the patient wanted, etc. These are just a few examples of hypothetical risks of plastic surgery. We will discuss more plastic surgery risks for common plastic surgery procedures below.
Breast Augmentation Risks
The main risk of a breast augmentation is undesirable results about the way they look. For example, some women feel that the doctor placed the implants too high in the breasts. While implants drop normally with time, sometimes they remain a little higher than what the woman wanted.
Another way in which the woman might not be happy with the final look is that there may be some breast asymmetry. Asymmetry is a common plastic surgery risk associated with many plastic surgery procedures. As you heal, it is normal for one breast to heal quicker than the other and for them to look temporarily uneven, but in some cases, one implant may permanently sit higher than the other, causing them to look uneven. This can however be fixed by a revision surgery.
A rare risk of breast augmentation is the implant rupturing. The implants are extremely durable, but in rare cases, they will break. With saline implants, a rupture will be apparent immediately, as they will quickly deflate. Saline is just saltwater, what 70% of your body is already composed of, so it will not harm your body. Silicone implants, unlike saline, may not be immediately apparent when they rupture, because the silicone gel will leak out extremely slowly. However, the FDA has concluded over the course of a 15 year investigation that silicone breast implants pose no known heal risks, so even if they do break, the silicone gel will not harm your body, assuming you go to a plastic surgeon and have it fixed in a timely manner.
In extremely rare cases, women experience permanent loss of sensation in the nipple area to varying degrees. This is an extremely rare risk of breast augmentation, but it has been known to happen. Plastic surgery risks like these are almost non-existent with highly skilled and experienced plastic surgeons.
Read more about breast augmentation recovery.
The risks of liposuction are very low compared to any other plastic surgery procedure. Most people are very happy with the results of liposuction, and do not experience any negative side effects of liposuction. Although they are very unlikely, here are a few of potential liposuction risks:
- Uneven removal of fat, creating a somewhat “lumpy” feel, not smooth
- Loose skin – because a lot of volume was removed, the skin may not be as tight as it was before, because all that volume created by the fat has been sucked out.
Scarring is one of the most common risks of plastic surgery, but with proper care, the scars from liposuction will not visible after six to twelve months. With a good surgeon and proper care of scars post-op, any negative side effects of liposuction are extremely rare. Liposuction is considered a very safe plastic surgery procedure.
Blepharoplasty (Lower Eye Lid Surgery)
Blepharoplasty will carry the common plastic surgery risks of bleeding and infection, but it will also carry several other risks. Some of these risks include:
- Asymmetry: The eyelids may not look completely even. One may heal better than the other, causing unevenness in the upper eye lid creases, excursion of the lower eye lid margin, and unevenness in the amount of fat underneath the skin, etc.
- Not enough skin was removed, so the results do not live up the patients expectations, leaving them unsatisfied with the results.
- Too much skin was removed, which may affect the closure of the eye lids during sleep or regular blinking. In severe cases, too much removal of skin can cause the palpebral fissure (opening between the eyelids) to widen, which is bad both cosmetically and for the function of the eye (also called eyelid retraction).
Great care must be taken when performing blepharoplasty, as it can carry a certain degree of risk. Make sure you select a plastic surgeon who is highly experienced in performing blepharoplasty and the risks will be greatly reduced.
The most likely risk of rhinoplasty is that the patient is not happy with the outcome of the procedure. This is most likely reason for this is that the specific flaws on the nose the patient wanted corrected were not treated to their liking, leaving them depressed and wanting a revision rhinoplasty. Unsatisfactory results are common plastic surgery risks, but it is even higher with rhinoplasty, because it is such a delicate procedure. Other, rarer risks of rhinoplasty include:
- Obstruction of airways
- Burst blood vessels
- Internal scarring
- Loss of smell
- Loss of structural support of the nose
- Numbness of the nose area, which may be permanent in very rare cases
- Perforation of septum
- Skin necrosis (skin death, more than 1000% more likely with smokers than non-smokers)
These risks are extremely low, less than 1%, and can be minimized by choosing a doctor who is highly skilled and experienced at performing rhinoplasty.
Tummy Tuck Risks
There are a lot of risks associated with a tummy tuck. It is a very major and complex surgery, and the tummy tuck recovery phase is arduous. Like all other plastic surgery risks, the main risks of a tummy tuck are the patient not being satisfied with the results. The reasons for this are numerous: perhaps the scars left were too big, much bigger than expected; perhaps not enough of the loose skin was removed, making the surgery and long recovery period almost pointless; the patient may not be satisfied with the appearance of the bellybutton; the patient by not feel that enough fat was removed and that their waist is still too big; the patient may be dissatisfied with appearance of their new stomach because of the scars, etc. The list goes on and on. It is important to have realistic expectations when getting a tummy tuck. The best possible results can be achieved by choosing a doctor who is renowned his expertise at performing tummy tucks, and although there are always risks, the overwhelming majority of women are satisfied with outcome of their tummy tuck. Other, rarer risks of a tummy tuck include:
- Blood Clots
- Adverse reaction to anesthesia
- Blood clots
- Delayed wound healing
Breast Reduction and Breast Lift Risks
Although they are different procedures, they are performed in similar ways and carry the same risks, so we have grouped breast reduction and breast lift risks into the same category. The most common risks of a breast reduction/breast lift, like all the other plastic surgery risks mentioned, are that the patient is simply unhappy with the results. Some women go into the surgery with unrealistic expectations that are impossible to achieve in reality. Common ways in which women are unhappy with results of a breast lift/breast reduction include: They are unhappy with the new shape of their breasts; the breasts may be slightly uneven (one might sit higher or lower, or be slightly bigger); the patient may not feel the breasts were lifted high enough or the opposite, that they were lifted too high; they may feel that they are too big or small, and may unhappy about the appearance. Other, less common risks include:
- Loss of nipple sensitivity
- Scarring irregularities
- Wound separation
- Permanent Bruising
- Blood loss
- Blood clot
- Fat and Tissue Necrosis (fat/skin death)
- Internal bleeding
- Blood clot
Plastic Surgery Risks – Conclusion
There you have it, the most common plastic surgery risks for the most common plastic surgery procedures. While you can have amazing results, it is important to also be aware that there are in fact many risks of plastic surgery. The key to avoiding any of these risks is heavily researching both the procedure you want done as well as the doctor. Some people’s only concern is finding the lowest plastic surgery prices they possibly can, which is a huge mistake. Plastic surgery is an art, and the skill level of every surgeon is different. Always make finding the best plastic surgeon possible your number one priority.