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Overview of Surgical Risks and Complications


Scarring is an expected part of healing from surgery. Its appearance and severity vary based on skin type, genetics, and the specifics of the incision. Some may develop more pronounced scars, such as hypertrophic or keloid. For concerns about scarring, seeking advice from your surgeon is advisable.


Infection is a potential risk in any surgical procedure. It manifests through symptoms like redness, increased pain, pus, and wounds that don’t heal. Surgeons adhere to strict sterility protocols, yet patient compliance with post-operative care is key. Prompt identification and antibiotic treatment are essential in managing infections.


Experiencing pain post-surgery is common, with its intensity and duration differing by procedure and individual pain thresholds. Normal discomfort is expected, but severe or persistent pain might signal a problem requiring immediate medical attention. Surgeons offer guidance on pain management, including medication and rest.


Post-surgical bleeding can be external or internal (hematoma), evident through visible bleeding, pain, pressure, or swelling. Any unusual bleeding or swelling after surgery necessitates urgent medical care.


This is the build-up of lymph fluid under the skin after surgery, usually due to damage to lymphatic vessels. Symptoms include pain, pressure, or fluid leakage. While typically minor, seromas may require drainage or further treatment for healing.

Anesthetic Complications:

Anesthesia, while crucial for pain management, carries risks such as allergic reactions, trauma from intubation, malignant hyperthermia, and cardiovascular or respiratory complications. Continuous monitoring during surgery is crucial for addressing these issues promptly.

Undesirable Cosmetic Outcomes:

In plastic surgery, there’s always a chance of results not meeting expectations, including asymmetry or skin puckering. Setting realistic goals and having detailed consultations can help manage expectations. Revision surgery might be an option for unsatisfactory outcomes, though not always possible.

Nerve Damage:

Rarely, surgery can cause nerve damage, leading to numbness, tingling, or loss of sensation. Often, nerve function improves over time, but permanent damage can occur in some cases. It’s important to report any unusual sensations after surgery immediately.

Bruising and Swelling:

Bruising and swelling are typical post-surgery but should be monitored. Excessive or prolonged occurrences need medical attention. Adhering to post-operative instructions, like elevating the area and using cold compresses, is recommended. Persistent or severe bruising and swelling should be communicated to your medical team.


While extremely rare, all surgical procedures carry a small risk of death due to severe complications, adverse reactions to anesthesia, or pre-existing health issues. Surgeons mitigate this risk with thorough pre-operative screening and modern surgical practices. Patients should openly share their medical history and follow all pre-and post-operative guidelines closely.