How often complications occur after plastic surgery

How often complications occur after plastic surgery

30th Oct 2020


Fear is a natural emotion that humans have. One of the most important triggers of fear is the possibility of risk, but unfortunately, there is no way you can eliminate risks from your life. You can cross the road and a drunk or non-attentive driver can run into you. But this doesn’t mean you will never be crossing any streets, and it only means that you learn how to be careful and try to reduce risks to a minimum.

It is absolutely normal to be aware of the risks and wanting to know how often they can occur when you go through surgery. Unfortunately, some surgeries need to be done to be able to continue your life, so no matter what the risks and their rates are, you just need to do it. Things change with cosmetic surgery because it is something you choose to have or not, so you can evaluate all the risks beforehand and see if you can avoid them and how. There are also statistics that show what percentage of patients have had complications related to the specific procedure you want. Let’s see then what are risks that most plastic surgeries might incur and what are the chances of you having that risk.


Every surgery carries a small risk of infection. The wound left by the incision is sensitive to any kind of infection. Your surgeon will take supplementary measures like handling the implants as little as possible to prevent possible infection. Usually, surgeons prescribe antibiotics after surgery to help prevent any kind of infection.

For surgeries that imply implants (whether they are used to enhance your bust or your bottom), the possibility of an infection makes things a lot more complicated because this will suppose a new surgery to remove the implants, then give time for the infection to heal and only then to place new implants. Therefore, it is important to have a certified surgeon taking care of you since they will have the safest methods and environment to perform surgery. You also need to follow the instructions of your surgeon in terms of taking care of your wound and the strict hygiene you need to follow.

Fat grafting procedures have a smaller risk of infection than those involving implants, so this might be a thing to take into consideration. At a general level, plastic surgeries that get infected are around 2 to 4% of those performed.

Nerve damage

Nerve damage can happen in any kind of plastic surgery, but probably the most notable one is the one that might happen during breast augmentation. This kind of complication can lead to partial or even total loss of sensation in the nipple. This can be an issue for possible future breastfeeding, so if you consider having more children after breast augmentation, you might want to wait a bit. On the other hand, this kind of risk is usually characteristic of incisions around the areola. Other types of incisions carry very little to no risk of such a complication. Nevertheless, an experienced and certified surgeon will know how to perform the operation without affecting any nerve. From a statistical point of view according to, only 15% of women that go through this surgery suffer this complication.


This is one of the most common complications for the majority of surgeries out there. A hematoma is a large pocket of blood that forms in the surgical area, and it usually resembles a large bruise. A hematoma can cause extreme pain and an excessive amount of inflammation in the affected area. Depending on the severity of the hematoma and its dimension, the surgeon might need to perform another surgery to remove the blood formation.

Breast surgery carries the most risk of complication like a hematoma, and this appears in about 1 to 6% of breast augmentation surgeries. Factors that might lead to the appearance of hematoma are varied, but amongst the most significant are smoking, hypertension, or anticoagulant medication.

Capsular contracture

Our body has a very clever mechanism, so it knows when you need it to intervene to help you. Whenever you get injured in any way, a small bruise from a thorn or a surgery, the body’s reaction is to heal the wound by forming scar tissue. This scar tissue also appears when you insert a foreign object inside your body, like an implant. The body feels that thing does not belong to it, so it creates a layer of scar tissue around it to protect from it.  This layer is usually thin, and it does not mess with the result or feel of your surgery. But there are cases where this scar tissue becomes very thick and squeezes the implant, changing its shape in such a way that it deforms the breast or the butt cheek. This issue might also lead to pain or, in the case of butt implants, the impossibility to sit down.

There are some techniques that plastic surgeons use to avoid such complication, some that are said to be better in the prevention of capsular contracture. There is also the medical history of the patient that plays an important role. There are some that tend to have an exaggerated reaction in case of injury, and this might be a factor to take into consideration. Opinions vary regarding this complication of plastic surgery, but no one can say with certainty what exactly triggers it and how you can be sure you will be able to avoid it.

Aesthetic fail

According to the US National Institute for Health, 87% of patients undergoing cosmetic surgery are satisfied with the results they get. The problem we need to address is the 13% that are not satisfied with what they get. Television even has reality shows that document all of these plastic surgery fails, like “Botched.” It is terrible to go through an operation in the hopes of being more beautiful and have more confidence in yourself and discover that things went so wrong that you now look awkward.

Each type of plastic surgery procedure incurs some risks of not getting the right result. Breast implant surgery that is not well performed might lead to the appearance of the so-called “uniboob,” droopy deformity, breast asymmetry, and implant rotation or migration. With buttock implants, implant migration or the malposition of it can also lead to serious aesthetic issues and to other possible surgeries to correct the mistake that was made. Having a bigger implant than possible might lead to implant extrusion, meaning that the incision will open and the implant will be visible. When you have breast reduction, one of the most common possible fails is the asymmetry of the breasts, while when it comes to the breast lift the nipples might be in the wrong position.

Plastic surgery is a complicated field of surgery, and it is not something that can be done by anyone. This is why people who choose this profession go through years of studying and practice. They need to get more certifications, constantly learn, and get through many years of experience to be considered good professionals in their field. All the above fails can be avoided by your surgeon, that is why it is so important to be informed and choose a professional that needs to have certification and experience in the kind of procedure you need. 

Possible risks with fat transfer procedures

Even if fat grafting procedures incur a lower rate of potential risks, they also carry some. These methods of enhancing a part of your body, be it your breasts or your buttocks, are lower risk since they do not suppose surgery. Liposuction to harvest fat from a body part is done by suction using a cannula, and then the injection of said fat is done by injection. So, there is no general anesthesia involved and no incision, therefore risks are considerably smaller. Still, there are some possible complications involved, and one of them is fat necrosis. This is translated in the appearance of oil cysts or nodules that form as a result of fat cells dying inside the area where they were injected. Most cases of fat necrosis are easily treatable by suction by which the liquid inside the cyst is extracted.

When fat necrosis transforms into nodules, these can be easily mistaken for a possible cancerous one, especially when it comes to such formations in the breast. But an experienced radiologist will be able to determine the nature of the nodule during a mammography.


To be able to reduce the risk of complications and place yourself outside people who experience them, you can do certain things that are in your control. It is up to you to make sure your doctor has all certifications and the necessary experience to operate on you, and it is your mission to find out what patients are saying and see the general satisfaction rate they have. Listening to your doctor’s recommendations and accepting their suggestions when it comes to size, procedure, technique, incision and so on is also something you can do. If you make sure you follow all of the above, then there is really a very small chance to experience any complications.

Share this article: