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Infection signs after plastic surgery
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Infection signs after plastic surgery

07th Jun 2017

Introduction

Infection is a surgical complication associated with all types of plastic surgery. It occurs due to the overgrowth of the bacteria on the incision site or around the surgical area. Patients with diabetes, vascular diseases and smokers are more prone to develop an infection after any type of surgery because of their weakened immune systems.

Contracting an infection at the surgical site impedes the patient’s recovery because it prevents the proper healing of the incision. An underlying infection may cause the incision to open and secrete pus as a consequence of the body’s immune response and this may eventually lead to scarring. Moreover, in the presence of an infection, implants must be removed prior to the administration of antibiotics. Attempting to cure an existing infection without taking the implants out will lead to ineffective treatment and recurrent infections. If left untreated, severe infections that have already contaminated the bloodstream can be fatal.

Some of the signs and symptoms that would suggest the presence of an infection include redness, pain and warmth on the incision site, a fever above 101.5 °F, a foul smell or a discharge from the incision. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your surgeon immediately. Your surgeon may prescribe oral antibiotics for a certain span of time and it is important that you drink the medication according to the specified frequency and dosage. You should finish drinking the advised number of doses even if the signs and symptoms are no longer present to ensure that the infection has been cured. For severe cases, the patient may be admitted to the hospital and given intravenous antibiotics.

Although the incidence of infection after plastic surgery is low, it is still best to keep from contracting one. Failure to practice proper aseptic technique on the part of the physician leaves you at risk for infection. You can avoid this possibility by selecting an experienced surgeon to conduct the procedure. To cover all the bases, you should also keep the incision clean and dry during your recovery.

Risk Of Infection After Plastic Surgery

Plastic surgery is a life-changing operation that can significantly improve your appearance albeit with a few related risks. These possible complications are rare; however, some of them may have fatal effects on the patient if left untreated. Among these severe complications is an infection.

An infection occurs when there is an overgrowth of bacteria in any part of the body. The skin, which acts as a natural barrier, protects the body from bacteria that are normally found in our environment. These infectious agents may thrive in a break in the skin such as the incision site and this opening can serve as a means for bacteria to get inside the body where it begins to multiply.

Everyone who goes through a plastic surgery is at risk of developing an infection. However, there are some people who have a greater tendency to contract an infection after a procedure. Diabetic patients, smokers, and those who have vascular conditions may be prone to acquiring infections more easily as compared to others. The probability of catching an infection also increases as the length of the surgery also increases.

Effects Of Infection

Having an infection negatively affects the recovery process because the damaged tissues have an impaired self-repairing ability. This can even cause more complications. Patients who develop an infection on the incision site will give rise to worse scars and a poorer appearance. In cases where the plastic surgery involves the use of implants, it is likely that the implants need to be removed once the infection has already spread in the surrounding area. If this occurs, the patient will have to go through another operation to remove the implants and recuperate for another 6 months before the implants are replaced through another operation.

If an infection is not dealt with immediately, it does not only result in the unsightly appearance of the incision wound. The infection can also spread to the blood and other organ systems which can eventually cause death.

Signs Of Infection

After the surgery, it is important to take good care of the body and be very attentive for the presence of signs that indicate an infection. If you observe any of the signs and symptoms, then you should immediately call your surgeon so that measures can be taken to treat the infection and prevent it from spreading.

One of the things that you should watch out for is a fever that is above 101.5 °F. Fever is the natural response of the immune system when it is trying to eradicate harmful bacteria that have entered the body. The high temperature may be able to kill some of the bacteria that cause the infection, but it isn’t enough to treat a more potent infection after a surgical procedure.

It is also possible to feel pain, redness, and warmth at the incision site. This happens because the incision site is irritated due to bacterial multiplication and immune response. Although pain after the surgery is normal, the pain felt should be manageable and should improve over a few days or weeks following the surgery.

Any unusual accumulation of fluid or discharge that is seeping from the incision may indicate an infection. The discharge can be a combination of pus and bacteria and can sometimes be accompanied by a foul-smelling odor.

Treatment For Infection

Treatment for infection is done by making use of oral antibiotics. These medications are prescribed by surgeons and patients should not stop taking them unless their surgeons give explicit instructions for them to do so. Antibiotics need to be consumed completely according to the dosage specified by the surgeon even if the infection disappears before the antibiotics run out. This is to avoid the bacteria from developing resistance to the antibiotic and to make sure that the infection is fully treated.

It is also possible for the stitches to be removed so that surgeons can successfully drain any fluid buildup in the surgical area. There are cases where the wound opens up and isn’t stitched up again because of an infection. If the infection is severe, it is possible that the patient has to be confined in a hospital and have intravenous antibiotics administered.

Ways To Avoid Infection

Although infection is a possible complication of any surgical procedure, its occurrence is rare. Despite this, patients should still make sure to do their best to reduce their risk of developing this complication. This can be done by simply selecting a certified and experienced surgeon who operates in a well-equipped facility. Many of those who go for cheaper plastic surgeries end up contracting an infection because the operation wasn’t performed in a sterile environment. Certified and experienced surgeons know that this is not acceptable and they do not operate under this circumstance. Furthermore, licensed surgeons know how to prepare the necessary surgical materials and ensure that the surgery is done under sterile conditions.

It is the responsibility of the patient to make sure that the incision is not infected during the recovery period. This can be done by always keeping the surgical wound clean and dry. Patients can also fortify their immune system so that they can easily deal any minor infection. It is also recommended that you contact your surgeon immediately in case any of the signs and symptoms of an infection starts to appear.

Conclusion

An infection is a complication that occurs as a result of the proliferation of bacteria that have entered the body through the surgical incision. This can adversely affect the patient’s recovery as it encumbers the body’s self-restoration process. In the event that the infection occurs at the site of an augmentation, the implant will have to be removed before antibiotics can be prescribed. In rare and more severe cases, untreated infections can ultimately lead to the death of the patient.

Due to its injurious effects, it is important to make sure that the infection is immediately diagnosed. The signs and symptoms of an underlying infection that patients should look out for include redness, warmth, and pain at the incision site, a foul odor or discharge that is seeping from the wound or fever that is higher than 101.5 °F. If you exhibit any of these signs or symptoms, you should immediately contact your surgeon.

The treatment for infection involves the use of antibiotics. These are medications that should be taken completely. Surgeons would prescribe a specific dose to be taken at particular intervals for a certain period of time. It is imperative that you strictly follow the doctor’s prescription so as to ensure full recovery and prevent the recurrence of the infection. Sometimes, oral antibiotics are inadequate to treat widespread infections and this is why some patients require hospital confinement and intravenous antibiotics.

There are also methods to lessen your risk of developing an infection. One of the best ways is to choose a certified and experienced surgeon. This step is important because it can eliminate the probability of contracting an infection from a non-sterile surgical environment. Additionally, patients must know how to take care of the wound after the operation and making sure that it is clean and dry at all times.

 


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