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Surgery Risks and Complications

Every surgical procedure comes with the risk of complications, and specific risks may accompany certain procedures. The general risks of surgery may include:

Scarring

Scarring is a natural part of the body’s healing process following any surgical incision. The appearance and severity of scars can vary widely depending on the individual’s skin type, genetics, and the location and size of the incision. Some people may experience hypertrophic or keloid scars. If undesirable scarring occurs, treatments may be considered according to the advice of your surgeon.

Infection

Infection is a potential complication of any surgical procedure, including plastic surgery. It arises when harmful bacteria infiltrate the surgical site, leading to symptoms like redness, increased pain, pus formation, and non-healing wounds. While your surgeon adheres to strict sterility protocols to mitigate this risk, it’s imperative for patients to follow post-operative care instructions diligently. Early detection and treatment with antibiotics are crucial to managing and resolving infections.

Pain

Pain is an expected side effect after surgical procedures. Its intensity and duration can vary based on the type of surgery and the individual’s pain threshold. While some discomfort is normal, severe or prolonged pain may indicate a complication and should be addressed promptly. Your surgeon will provide guidance on pain management, including the use of prescribed pain relievers and recommendations for rest and recovery.

Bleeding

Bleeding, both external and internal, can be a side effect of surgical procedures. External bleeding is usually evident at the surgical site, while internal bleeding, or hematoma, may manifest as pain, pressure, or swelling in the affected area. If you notice unusual swelling or bleeding post-surgery, it’s essential to seek immediate medical attention.

Seroma

A seroma is a collection of clear lymph fluid that can develop under the skin post-surgery. This can occur when surgery disrupts the lymph vessels, leading to fluid accumulation. Symptoms include increased pain, a feeling of pressure, and a noticeable bump or clear fluid drainage from the surgical site. While seromas are generally minor complications, they might require drainage or additional treatments to allow proper healing.

Anaesthetic Complications

While anesthesia is used for pain management, there are inherent risks associated with its use. Some potential complications include allergic reactions, trauma due to intubation, malignant hyperthermia, and issues with blood pressure or respiration. Continuous monitoring during surgery helps your surgeon to detect and manage such complications promptly.

Undesirable Cosmetic Outcome

Even with established medical techniques and the skill of a qualified surgeon, there is always a potential risk of an undesirable cosmetic outcome after plastic surgery. This could manifest as asymmetry, puckering of the skin, or simply results that don’t meet the patient’s expectations. It’s crucial to have realistic expectations and discuss potential outcomes in detail during consultations. Revision surgery can sometimes correct undesirable outcomes, but this isn’t always guaranteed.

Nerve Damage

Nerve damage is a rare but potential complication of plastic surgery. It can result from the surgical manipulation of tissues or inadvertent injury to the nerves during the procedure. Symptoms may include numbness, tingling, or a loss of sensation in the affected area. In most cases, the nerve function returns gradually over weeks to months, but there can be permanent changes in rare instances. It’s essential to be aware and promptly report any unusual sensations post-surgery.

Bruising and Swelling

After a surgical procedure, it’s common to experience some degree of bruising and swelling. While this is a normal part of the healing process, excessive or prolonged bruising and swelling can be concerning. It’s crucial to follow post-operative care instructions, including elevating the affected area, applying cold compresses, and avoiding strenuous activities. However, if you notice unusually prolonged swelling or deep, dark bruising, it’s important to contact us for an evaluation.

Death

While extremely rare, there is always an inherent risk associated with any surgical procedure, including the risk of death. This could be due to severe complications, adverse reactions to anesthesia, or underlying health conditions. Your surgeon and their team prioritise patient safety, ensuring rigorous pre-operative screening and using the most up-to-date surgical techniques and protocols. It’s crucial to be open about your entire medical history during consultations and to follow all pre-operative and post-operative guidelines closely.