Despite the hazards, cosmetic surgery
is as popular as ever, with millions of people going under the knife
every year. Women are the largest consumers, making up around 85% of all
Cosmetic surgery performed by board-certified plastic surgeons has
an excellent safety record. Your surgeon will tell you if your risk
factor is above average, for instance if you:
- are extremely overweight
- have had a recent traumatic injury
- have any disorder of the heart, lungs, or central nervous system
- have a history of cancer, recurrent severe infection, or genetic problems that affect blood clotting
- take oral contraceptives
- are undergoing hormone-replacement therapy
Here are some of the risks associated with the more popular types of cosmetic surgery.
have also been linked with changes in nipple and breast sensation, the
inability to breast feed, hardening of the breast, and asymmetry. There
is a possibility that breast implants
may interfere with mammography, which could hinder the early detection of breast cancer.
Although the majority of cosmetic surgery
patients get the result they wanted, others have suffered serious
complications. The most feared is ‘fat embolism syndrome’, where fat is
loosened during the procedure and pieces lodge in the lungs, potentially
causing death. Other complications include: numbness, burns, dimples in
the skin, and accidental organ puncture. Most of these problems can
usually be avoided under an experienced surgeon, so make sure your
doctor is suitably qualified.
This is a relatively new non-surgical procedure that has shot to popularity. Botox
stands for botulinum toxin
which causes food poisoning outbreaks. When used in cosmetics, however,
it can stop muscle concentration and eliminate frown lines. The risks
associated with botox include: headache, flu-like symptoms, redness at
the injection site, and muscle weakness. If the wrong facial area is
injected, you can be left with drooping eyelids for several weeks. Since
the effect of botox is only temporary, repeat injections are needed
every six months to avoid frown lines.
Since any surgery carries risk, it is important
to know what you’re letting yourself in for by opting to have cosmetic
surgery. While it is highly likely that you will have a trouble-free
operation and recovery, there is always a chance that something will go
wrong. Often, cosmetic surgery means performing an operation on a
physically healthy individual, so it’s important to consider your good
health as your most precious asset.
some people have bad reactions to being sedated,
and may experience: abnormal heart rhythm, airway obstruction, blood
clots, brain damage, heart attack, malignant hyperthermia, nerve damage,
stroke, temporary paralysis, or even death.
occurs if you vomit during surgery and it is forced
into the lungs. Besides mild discomfort, it can cause infections, a
chronic cough, obstruction in the lungs, or pneumonia.
is normal with any procedure, however losing an
excessive amount can cause major complications, such as severe anaemia.
Bleeding after surgery can accumulate under the skin and require a
second operation if it doesn’t absorb into the body.
in the veins can be fatal. Longer procedures and
time under general anaesthesia can increase the risk of deep vein
thrombosis (DVT). If you’re having liposuction in your legs you are at
Drop in blood pressure
a sudden drop due to blood loss can cause an irregular heartbeat and possibly a heart attack.
the risk is less than 1% and antibiotics reduce this
further. However, if infection does arise, it can be serious. If you
smoke, take steroids, or have certain vascular conditions you are at
if your sutures come loose this can lead to internal bleeding or a hernia, and would require a further operation.
Skin death or necrosis
may occur after an infection or haematoma, and is much more likely in smokers.
may occur due to age, skin type, or failure to follow the doctor’s advice.
Numbness and tingling – due to injured nerves is often temporary but can sometimes be permanent.
is where fluid collects under the skin, possibly after breast augmentation, liposuction, or tummy tuck.
Profile of the author
Jackie Griffiths writes journal and newsletter articles for
companies and non-governmental organisations across the UK. As founder
and senior writer at Freelance Copy, she writes top level content for
websites and print across a broad range of sectors including health,
medical, biological, governmental, and pharmaceutical.