Though the great majority of plastic surgeries have good outcomes and patients are happy with the results, they are still types of surgeries. Because of this, there’s always a risk of a complication. Fortunately, most complications can be treated successfully if they are attended to in a timely manner. Yet, there are some plastic surgery complications that patients may ignore. Here are seven of them brought by our plastic surgeon Tampa:
A seroma happens when fluid builds up under the skin at the surgical site and causes swelling and pain. Patients who have plastic surgery are told that some pain and swelling are to be expected after their operation, so they might ignore a seroma until it becomes obvious that what’s happening isn’t normal. The patient can notice, for example, that the area seems to infected. In that case, it would be hot, painful to the touch, and streaked with red. The good news is that seromas are easy to treat. All the doctor needs to do is remove the fluid with a needle and possibly put the patient on a new course of antibiotics.
Most invasive procedures are going to result in some scarring. In the case of plastic surgery, the surgeon takes care to make sure that scars are well hidden. For example, they make incisions in the hairline and around the back of the ear in a facelift, around the natural crease of the breast in breast augmentation or breast lift surgery, beneath the bikini line in abdominoplasty, or even inside the nose during rhinoplasty. Still, some patients are left with noticeable, raised scars, including keloid scars.
There are some treatments that can reduce the appearance of scars, including the application of silicone gels. These gels protect the scar from infection, lock in hydration, and keep the body from producing the layers of collagen that make the scar more prominent.
3. Deep Vein Thrombosis
One of the reasons our plastic surgeon Tampa makes patients get up and move around soon after their surgery is to reduce the risk of blood clots in the deep veins of the legs. These clots are called deep vein thromboses. If they break off and move up to the lungs, they can lead to a pulmonary embolism, which is potentially fatal. People who are having an abdominoplasty and are having more than one surgery at a time are more at risk for deep vein thromboses than other plastic surgery patients.
Patients might suspect that they have a deep vein thrombosis after surgery if their leg hurts and is swollen or tender, especially in the calf. They feel pain or soreness in the leg when they walk, and the leg is warm and red. The leg also hurts when it’s raised, and the patient flexes their foot.
A hematoma is basically a bruise, which is blood pooling in and around the surgical site. As with swelling, patients who’ve had plastic surgery are also taught to expect some bruising and may ignore a bruise that is unusually large. If the bruising doesn’t look like it’s going away after a few days and even appears to be growing, it will need to be treated. Unfortunately, fixing a hematoma isn’t quite as easy as treating a seroma. The patient may need to return to the operating theater to have a hematoma removed and may even need to be put back under anesthesia.
Infection is a common complication of any surgery, including plastic surgery. Infection first strikes the incision itself and usually occurs within a month after the surgery. Besides pain, heat, and redness, pus may seep from the surgical wound, and the patient may feel ill and run a fever. Because infection can be insidious, some doctors recommend that their patient take their temperature in the days after their surgery and get in touch with them if they start to feel sick.
Patients who are more at risk for infection often have uncontrolled diabetes, are overweight, smoke, or have a compromised immune system. They’re also at greater risk if their surgery lasted more than two hours. This is often the case with surgeries such as abdominoplasty or some types of rhinoplasty.
6. Nerve Damage
Though surgeons take care not to damage any nerves in the surgical area, some nerve damage commonly happens after surgery such as breast augmentation or breast lift. Symptoms of nerve damage are numbness and tingling. The sensations often go away, but in some cases they’re permanent.
7. Unusual Loss of Blood
The patient can expect to lose some blood during surgery, and there may be some seepage of blood afterward, especially with surgery like a tummy tuck. Severe blood loss most often happens during surgery and is treated right away by the surgeon, but it can also happen after surgery. A patient who believes that they are losing more blood than is normal for the operation should get in touch with their doctor right away.