Risks & Complications of Surgery
Risks and Complications of Plastic Surgery with Dr Turner
Dr Turner will cover your risks and possible complications of surgery in detail during your consultation as part of your informed consent process. He will also do everything possible to manage and reduce your risks, however surgical complications can still occur.
Surgery is a partnership effort between a surgeon and patient – please do everything you can to get a great result. Follow instructions, rest, heal and allow adequate time for recovery.
Seven Things you can do to minimise your risks and complications of surgery
- Do NOT Smoke at all during the surgical journey – especially critical in the periods before and after surgery
- Read all your surgical documents and follow instructions of your surgeon precisely – rest & allow time to heal, wear your compression garments as instructed, avoid removing your own bandages or touching at the incision site until it has healed properly.
- Be accurate and upfront about ALL your medications, supplements and vitamins that you are currently taking – Tell both Dr Turner and your anaesthetist
- When providing your medical history give specific details about ANY past difficulties you have had with surgery, anaesthesia, hospital visits or healing – please be as honest and detailed as possible
- Thorough pre-washing of your own body prior to surgery can help reduce skin bacteria and the risk of infection.
- Being in great physical health prior to surgery can help have a good recovery and get a better final result
- Successful surgical outcomes are the result of a number of considerations – realistic surgical goals, realistic patient expectations, and a good knowledge and understanding of possible risks and complications.
There are other specific risks for Breast Surgery, Body Surgery and Skin, Hand, Face & Nose Surgery – Dr Turner will cover in detail during your consultation.
Risks of Surgery & Potential Complications that may apply to ANY surgical procedure
- Anaesthetics are generally safe, but a range of complications can occur, from minor issues such as bruising at an injection site, or a sore throat from an anaesthetic tube, to major problems such as an allergic reaction to an anaesthetic, which may result in curtailing the surgery, an extended stay in the hospital, and can be life-threatening. Your specific concerns are best discussed with your anaesthetist. Please mention if you have had ANY past difficulty with surgery or anesthesia or any heart problems.
- Minor post-operative pain may occur and pain medication will be provided. If severe pain occurs you should contact our rooms or the hospital ASAP.
Numbness / Nerve Damage
- As sensory nerves may be damaged during a surgical procedure, you may feel some initial numbness in the surgical area – your normal sensory feelings should return after a short period but some more permanent nerve damage is a risk.
Internal Bleeding – Hematoma
- All recognised bleeding points are controlled during surgery, but occasionally a blood vessel will start bleeding after wound closure. If this is severe, it may require a return to the operating theatre for correction.
Fluid Build-Up – Seroma
- Sometimes following surgery, a collection of fluid may pool near the surgical site. If this occurs, a visit to the operating theatre or procedure room may be required to remove the seroma.
- You may have an unexpected allergic reaction – please let Dr Turner know if you have any allergies to the following; surgical tape, suture materials, glues, blood products, topical preparations or injected agents.
- Everybody is exposed to bacteria (which can cause infection) every day. During surgery, steps are taken to minimise the development of infection including antibiotics, a sterile environment, and the use of antiseptic solutions. Despite these measures, very occasionally an infection may develop. Thorough pre-washing of your own body prior to surgery can reduce skin bacteria.
Wound Breakdown / Delayed Wound Healing Risks of Surgery
- The presence or combination of thin or soft tissues, poor blood supply and infection may lead to wound breakdown. Every effort is made to avoid these situations. Smoking or Vaping will significantly delay your healing and increase the risk of wound breakdown. Please do NOT Smoke, use nicotine patches or Vape.
Scarring – Keloid Scars
- Scars are an inevitable part of surgery as all wounds heal with scars. The nature and appearance of the scar vary from patient to patient and surgery to surgery. Most scars fade and become faint (but are always visible if you look hard enough), but some remain pink, thickened and lumpy – keloid scars. Scar treatments and scar revisions are available for unsightly and keloid scars.
- Smoking or Vaping will significantly increase your risk of poor quality scars. Please do NOT Smoke, use nicotine patches or Vape.
Serious Complications of Surgery
Deep Vein Thrombosis – DVT
- This is a blood clot in the deep veins of the body (usually the calf) and can occur with prolonged bed rest or localised compression that creates stasis (slow or stagnant blood flow). The possibility of DVT increases during and after surgery because, at this time, the blood becomes more ‘sticky’.
- DVT’s are more common in high BMI patients and some families. This is related to their altered blood clotting mechanism. During and after surgery, precautions are taken to reduce the risk of this occurring.
- Should a DVT occur, there is a risk that a pulmonary embolus may result. This serious development is produced when part or all of a thrombus (blood clot) breaks free and travels via the venous system to the lungs.
- This is very rare risk in a fit healthy patient, but the risk increases with age and the status of the patient’s cardiac health. If there is concern about an increased risk of a heart attack, tests and a referral to a cardiac specialist will be arranged.
Useful Medical References
- Useful Article on Risks of Surgery from VeryWellHealth