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Cosmetic surgery: procedures that lead to complications


Cosmetic surgery consists of one or more interventions on the body of a man or a woman in order to correct a malformation or to improve the aesthetic aspect of the face, the breasts or the body. Certainly an act of cosmetic surgery, whether it is for aesthetic or reconstructive purposes, involves complications, as does any intervention.

Complications are nevertheless rare. They depend mainly on the general state of the patient, the complexity of the operation and the quality of the practitioner. They are clearly increased by smoking, which must be stopped 1 month before the operation.

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Reasons to have cosmetic surgery

Cosmetic surgery is a practice that can be applied to many parts of the body and can meet a variety of needs. There are many reasons that motivate the patient to resort to cosmetic surgery such as : 


  • Rectify changes caused by weight loss or pregnancy
  • Correcting anatomy
  • Reduce the appearance of scars or physical after-effects that may be caused by an accident or other surgery.
  • Improve the patient’s self-esteem
  • Increase comfort and improve posture of the patient through breast reduction and reconstruction, removal of excess skin on the abdomen, for example.
  • Thanks to new technologies, cosmetic surgery offers a quick and rather satisfactory result, but also involves certain complications.

Grâce aux nouvelles technologies, la chirurgie esthétique fait bénéficier d’un résultat rapide et plutôt satisfaisant, mais comporte aussi certaines complications. 


Complications in cosmetic surgery

Before the operation, the patient must be informed of all the risks and complications that can be caused by cosmetic surgery. The frequency and severity of these complications vary greatly. 



Hematoma is an accumulation of blood at the level of the surgical wound that can occur during the first postoperative hours. Most of the time, this accumulation of blood resorbs spontaneously. But, when it is voluminous, it can distend the skin and compromise its vascularization. It can also compress certain structures in depth, or cause very significant pain. 


Serous effusion

This is a phenomenon of very variable frequency depending on the location, the accumulation of lymphatic fluid in the surgery site which is more or less associated with significant edema. It is more frequent in regions rich in lymph nodes such as the axillae and inguinal nodes and generally results in a transient increase in volume. It disappears spontaneously and gradually, but sometimes requires punctures.



Local infection is favored by the presence of bacteria in the surgical wound or in certain areas of the patient’s body, or by a decrease in natural defenses.

After the second postoperative day, an increase in pain or fever should make you fear an infection and lead you to contact your surgeon again. 



In the case of hand surgery, algodystrophy is a disorder of the autonomic nervous system, which is not under the voluntary control of the patient. The hand can be swollen, painful and stiff. This complication can be triggered by postoperative pain.

However, if appropriate treatment is started early, most of these complications have a favorable evolution. Sometimes an emergency reoperation is necessary for certain complications such as infection and hematoma.  

Certain signs should lead you to contact your surgeon as soon as possible and which are the following

– Increase in pain after the second postoperative day

– Sensation of certain sleepless night pains.

Discover : Cosmetic surgery in Tunisia: 5 reasons to do it



Actions that lead to complications in cosmetic surgery


Performing multi-stage procedures

Multi-stage procedures, whether they be finishing or touch-ups, require several operating times. The result of an intervention cannot be predicted in an absolute way. In the same way, the healing process specific to each individual leads to a variation in the result obtained. It should be mentioned that touch-ups are always possible after the operation.


Smoking before and after the operation 

Smoking increases the risk of surgical complications in any surgery, especially in cosmetic surgery. Tobacco contains three components that have a serious impact on the ability to heal: nicotine, carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide. For this reason, it is important to stop smoking 6-8 weeks prior to surgery to eliminate this risk.


Exposing cosmetic surgery scars to the sun

In the year following cosmetic surgery, it is strongly recommended not to expose yourself to the sun. Prolonged and unprotected exposure to the sun causes negative and irreversible effects to exposed scars. This can ignite a permanent epidermal reaction resulting in scars that become darker and more pronounced instead of fading. After any cosmetic surgery, it is recommended to avoid sunlight and heat as much as possible.



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