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What are the risks of body cosmetic surgery?

Individuals cannot avoid having their body and appearance change due to a number of factors, such as aging, pregnancy, illness, drastic weight fluctuations, lifestyle, and genetics. Despite its inevitability, there are still many who want to fix those changes and restore their previous appearances, which is why people are now resorting to body cosmetic surgery.

Some of the most common cosmetic surgery procedures include tummy tuck, liposuction, breast augmentation, breast reduction, breast lift, buttock enhancement, body lift, and facelift. There is no denying that body cosmetic surgery comes with a host of benefits, but like all surgeries, it carries potentials risks and complications. For example, people with poor health history or those suffering from health problems like diabetes, heart diseases, respiratory problems, obesity and high blood pressure are at risk of suffering from additional complications like pneumonia, heart failure, blood clot, pulmonary embolism and hemorrhage after the body cosmetic surgery. Furthermore, smoking and alcohol intake can also lead to health risks after cosmetic surgery.

Given the risks involved in body cosmetic surgery, the patient must discuss the risks and potential complications associated with the specific procedures beforehand. If you have a poor medical history, or if you have been taking medications like aspirin, supplements or pleasure drugs, make sure to disclose this information to your surgeon. Being aware of the risks is just as important as the benefits because it will help you make a judicious decision and may save you from life-threatening complications.

The risks and potential complications

Even though body cosmetic surgery entails major risks, people normally consider it less risky than any regular surgery. They also do not realize that serious complications may require another surgery. Furthermore, there are patients who intentionally avoid seeing or understanding the risks involved in the cosmetic surgery because they do not take it seriously.

Remember, the body cosmetic surgery is a major surgery that involves making incisions in your body and entails all risks involved in any other major surgery. It can be life threatening and may even lead to permanent disability or death. The risks associated with body cosmetics surgery range from the general dissatisfaction with the results to severe complications like organ damage.

Let’s take a closer look at the risks involved in body cosmetic surgery:

Beauty fail

When someone tampers with your physical appearance, especially if he or she is an inexperienced and unskilled cosmetic practitioner, there is a higher chance of problems occuring in other areas of your body. Altering the appearance and shape of one body part may have negative effects on the shape of another body part. For example, an abdominoplasty may make the thighs appear out of proportion once the abdomen is tightened. This makes your overall appearance look unnatural.

On the other hand, beauty fails may simply occur because of mistakes made during the surgery. Many women land in the hands of fake or incompetent cosmetic surgeons to fulfill their desires for impressive aesthetic appearances, but end up botching their physical appearance. Thus, you should select only a board-certified plastic surgeon to perform your body cosmetic surgery because they will prevent any major errors from occurring and will tell you upfront about what you should expect after the surgery.


The body cosmetic surgery comes with the risk of hematoma, which is a condition caused by the formation of a blood pocket in the surgical area. The blood pocket often looks like a large bruise. A hematoma can be painful and trigger excessive inflammation at the surgical area. In order to treat hematoma, you may be required to undergo another surgery to remove the pocket of blood from your body.

Nerve damage

The risk of nerve damage is present in all forms of body cosmetic surgery procedures. During the surgery, your nerve may be injured or severely damaged, leading to coldness and burning sensation in the surgical area. With that said, many patients experience temporary or permanent change or loss of skin sensation after body cosmetic surgery. It is actually the body’s natural reaction to being cut, so it is not a cause for panic.


You are at risk of contracting potential infections after the surgery. While post-surgical care includes steps to minimize the risk of infections, it is still a common complication after body cosmetic surgery. Your surgeon may prescribe you antibiotics to be taken before and after the surgery in order to protect you from potential infections, so make sure to take those medications on time and accordingly.

Pulmonary embolism

There is also a risk for pulmonary embolism to occur as a result of the body cosmetic surgery. This condition occurs when blood clots enter your bloodstream through damaged blood vessels and travels to your lungs. While this complication can be deadly, it is very rare. When blood clots travel to the lungs, they trigger fluid accumulation in the lungs and block oxygen, which can lead to death.


Scarring is unavoidable in body cosmetic surgery, just like all surgeries. Unfortunately, if complications happen during the surgery, the scars may become abnormal and prominent.

Organ damage

Some of the body cosmetic procedures can be risky to your internal organs. For example, during the liposuction surgery, your organs may be damaged or injured, which can lead to life-threatening situations. It is important to understand that a visceral perforation or puncture may occur if the surgical tools touch your internal organs. In order to treat the organs, you may be required to undergo another surgery.

Anesthesia risks

Most body cosmetic surgeries are performed under general anesthesia or IV sedation. Your body may react adversely to the anesthesia, leading to other complications and life threatening situations like an infection of the lungs, stroke, shock, and heart failure. The chances of this occurring are rare and usually avoided by the anesthetist asking all the important questions before the surgery.

In general, when you wake up from the effects of the anesthesia, you may feel dizzy, nauseous or shivery.


Another common risk involved in body cosmetic surgery is the formation of a seroma, which is the accumulation of fluids discharged from the body under the skin of the surgical site. Seroma triggers excessive swelling, pain and discomfort. There is also a risk for the seroma to contract infections. Therefore, it becomes necessary to drain away the bloodstained fluids as soon as possible. If the seroma isn’t severe, it will subside on its own.


Like with all surgeries, there is a risk of excessive and uncontrolled bleeding after body cosmetic surgery. If the patient is taking blood-thinning medications like aspirin, there is a higher risk of excessive bleeding to occur. Excessive blood loss can lead to hemorrhage, which can trigger complications like a drop in blood pressure. This condition can happen during and after the surgery.

Reduce your risk of complications

In order to avoid potential complications, you must discuss all the risks with your surgeon in advance. It is very important for you to disclose your full health and medication history with your surgeon so that precautionary measures can be taken. In some cases, your candidacy for the procedure is reassessed to avoid further complications. Since body cosmetic surgery is an elective procedure, you should not go under the knife if the risks weigh more than the benefits for you.

Patients who smoke have been found to be more at risk of complications during and after the surgery, so they are often advised to stop smoking to qualify for the surgery. You should stop smoking at least 3-4 weeks before the surgery and avoid smoking for 4 weeks after the surgery. Moreover, a number of medical conditions, the use of medicines and drug abuse can increase the risks for the patient.

In order to reduce your risks, you must realize that the plastic surgery procedure is a major surgery. You should also do your research to fully understand what the procedure entails, how it is performed, what are the risks and what results you should expect.

In addition, your plastic surgeon can play a greater role in minimizing your risks, thus, it is important to choose your surgeon judiciously. Do your research, get opinions from many surgeons, ask the surgeons for their credentials, qualifications and experience and try to get in touch with their past patients. Remember, it is very important to choose only a board-certified plastic surgeon to perform your surgery.

If a surgeon is not board-certified, or if they are unable to provide their board certification, leave the facility immediately. One way to finding a trusted, board-certified plastic surgeon is by visiting the websites of the American Board of Plastic Surgery, American Board of Cosmetic Surgery and/or the American Society of Cosmetic Surgeons.


The body cosmetic surgery, like all surgeries, comes with a host of risks and potential complications. People who are already suffering from medical complications are more at risk during and after the body cosmetic surgery. You can decrease your risk of suffering from complications during or after the surgery by selecting only a board-certified plastic surgeon to perform your surgery as well as by getting complete information about the procedure and by sharing your health and medical information with your doctor.


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