Safety may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of cosmetic surgery, but it definitely shouldn’t be the last one either, especially if you’re planning to go under the scalpel any time soon. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the number of plastic surgery procedures performed annually has been on a steady rise since 2000, with as many as 15.9 million cosmetic procedures carried out in the U.S. in 2015 alone. Apart from the startling fact that more and more people are finding fault with their bodies, the figure is a serious reason for concern since even minimally invasive procedures can at times go wrong and result in large-scale complications and patient discomfort and/or dissatisfaction. So, is plastic surgery safe and how much, what are the chief risks involved in an average procedure, and can the effects of a cosmetic procedure gone wrong be reversed?
Safety First, Please: Be Aware of the Risks
However skilled and experienced, plastic surgeons are only human and can make mistakes now and again, and post-surgery complications are another risk you should be aware of before you decide to undergo a cosmetic procedure. Even a routine plastic surgery can end in an infection, bleeding, seroma, thrombosis, hematoma, nerve damage, or clotting of the veins, which is why surgeons are required to inform the patient about potential complications and adverse effects of the surgery in advance. If you’re not sure if the surgery outcome is worth the risk, you should ask your surgeon about all the specifics before you sign the consent form. Also, you should run preliminary tests and follow-up examinations to reduce the risk of complications that could’ve easily been prevented granted timely screening.
Not All Surgery Created Equal: Risk Levels
Even a minor cut can evolve into a serious infection in unsanitary conditions – but the stakes can get vertiginously high if you add general anesthetics, insufficiently skilled surgeons, and poorly equipped operation theatres to the mix. As a rule, procedures performed when the patient is under a local anesthetic are considered less risky, whereas complex operations done under general anesthetics such as tummy tucks or extensive body contouring entail a significantly higher risk of post-surgery complications such as infections. Breast and buttock augmentation surgery is often performed with the patient under a local anesthetic, but it’s not completely free of risks either as the liquid silicone implant can leak out if the insert sustains a defect in handling by accident. The list goes on, which beckons the question: is plastic surgery really worth it?
A Grim Figure: The High Costs of Beauty
Invasive cosmetic procedures don’t differ from other surgery types out there, and this is rather startling if you take into account the fact that 440,000 people die each year as a consequence of hospital errors, injuries, accidents, or infections. Additionally, one in 25 patients will develop an infection while still in the hospital, and the figures go up in the aftercare period. This is why it’s of utmost importance to select a qualified and experienced plastic surgeon and adhere to pre-procedure preparations and post-surgery care guidelines. If you identify a potential health issue during the hospital stay, you should report to the surgeon or nurse immediately and explain the reasons for your concern in an assertive manner.
Fix the Damage: When Surgery Backfires
For complex plastic surgery procedures that weren’t carried out in keeping with valid healthcare standards or recommended codes of practice, you may have to undergo secondary surgery so as to reverse the damage or minimize the visibility of the scar tissue. A follow-up procedure to remove scar tissue is often required for rhinoplasty, facelift, whole-body contouring, and tummy tuck. In other cases, though, non-invasive routines may help take care of the procedure’s adverse effect. For instance, in case of symmastia caused by too large breast implants or too close placement, massage and special bras can prevent monoboob development. Similarly, cold compresses and vasodilating activities will alleviate hematoma after invasive procedures such as eyelid surgery or chin augmentation.
Beauty may be an asset in the world we live in, but it’s not as imperative as long-term health or safety from potential complications. If you can’t imagine living with a bodily imperfection for the rest of your life, then at least pick an accredited surgeon whom you can trust, run the necessary examinations before and after the procedure, and have realistic expectations as regards surgery effects. Good luck!