Risks and Complications

Dr Turner will outline the risks of plastic surgery and possible complications of any cosmetic surgery procedure in detail during your consultation as part of the informed consent process. He will also explain how he will do everything possible to manage and reduce your risks, however, surgical complications can still and do occur.

By making the decision to consult a qualified Specialist Plastic Surgeon and by following all of the post-operative instructions provided by Dr Turner, you are taking important steps towards ensuring a successful recovery. Remember that the success of your surgery is in your hands as well as your surgeon’s.

The risks can vary depending on the specific procedure, the patient’s health status, and other factors. Here are some general risks associated with surgery:

  • Anesthesia Complications: General and local anaesthesia carries risks such as allergic reactions, adverse reactions to medications, breathing difficulties, and in rare cases, serious complications like heart or lung issues.
  • Infection: Surgical sites can become infected, leading to wound complications and the potential spread of infection to other parts of the body.
  • Bleeding: Surgical procedures involve cutting and manipulating tissues, which can lead to bleeding. While surgeons take steps to control bleeding, excessive bleeding can sometimes occur.
  • Blood Clots: Prolonged immobility during and after surgery can increase the risk of blood clot formation (deep vein thrombosis) that may lead to complications if the clot travels to the lungs (pulmonary embolism).
  • Mortality: While very rare in healthy patients undergoing elective surgery, the risk of serious complications resulting in death must be understood.
  • Scarring: All surgical procedures result in some level of scarring. Surgeons strive to minimise scarring through careful incision techniques, but scars are a natural part of the healing process.
  • Wound Healing Issues: Some individuals may experience delayed wound healing or wound dehiscence (wound reopening) due to various factors, such as infection, poor blood flow, or compromised immune function.
  • Organ Damage: In complex surgeries, there is a risk of unintentional damage to nearby organs or structures.
  • Nerve Damage: Surgical procedures can potentially damage nerves, leading to temporary or permanent loss of sensation or movement in the affected area.
  • Adverse Reaction to Medications: Patients can have adverse reactions to medications used during surgery, including painkillers, antibiotics, and other drugs.
  • Digestive System Issues: After abdominal surgeries, some patients may experience digestive system-related complications like bowel obstructions, constipation, or issues with bowel movement.
  • Complications with Healing Tissues: Patients with underlying health conditions like diabetes or poor circulation may experience difficulties in wound healing.
  • Hematoma and Seroma: Hematoma is a collection of blood outside of a blood vessel while seroma is a buildup of fluid. Both of these can occur after surgery and might require drainage to prevent complications.
  • Hernia Formation: In some cases, surgical incisions can lead to hernias, where tissue or organs protrude through the weakened area.
  • Respiratory Complications: Patients undergoing general surgery may be at risk of postoperative respiratory issues like pneumonia or lung collapse due to changes in breathing patterns and immobility.
  • Urinary Tract Infections: Patients with urinary catheters during surgery may be at an increased risk of developing urinary tract infections.

Risks Unique to Cosmetic Plastic Surgery

There are some unique risks associated with plastic surgery which are additional to the above general risks of surgery including:

  • Unsatisfactory Results: Plastic surgery outcomes may not always meet the patient’s expectations. Dissatisfaction with results, even if the surgery is performed correctly, is a risk.
  • Asymmetry: Achieving perfect symmetry is challenging, and there’s always a risk that postoperative results might lead to slight asymmetry.
  • Emotional and Psychological Effects: Plastic surgery can have emotional and psychological effects. While some individuals experience a high level of satisfaction with their results, others may feel disappointment or struggle with unrealistic expectations.

Complications with Implants: For procedures involving implants (e.g. breast augmentation), there are potential risks such as implant rupture, displacement, Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma (ALCL), Breast Implant Illness (BII), or capsular contracture (scar tissue forming around the implant).