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December 22, 2007

Plastic Surgery Risks

By Samantha Everett

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), nearly 11.5 million surgical and nonsurgical procedures were performed in the United States alone in 2005, 91.4% of which were done on women. Although there was a 2% decline from 2004, it’s quite evident that women’s quest for perfection is still in the works.

The top 5 surgical procedures for women are:

  • Liposuction
  • Breast augmentation
  • Eyelid surgery
  • Tummy tuck
  • Breast lift

    And the top 5 nonsurgical procedures are:

  • Botox injections
  • Laser hair removal
  • Hyaluronic acid (for folds & wrinkle improvement)
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Chemical peel

    Americans spent approximately $12.4 billion (US) on cosmetic procedures last year, and the big question is why? Why do we go under the knife, risking our lives, in a quest to look better?

    The answer is simple: We’re vain. And that’s okay. But do you really realize the underlying plastic surgery risks involved when you go under the knife? I know that reality television programs tend to show successes rather than failures, but there are some great potential dangers to think about when it comes to plastic surgery risks.

    If you’re considering making your thinning out your hips or getting those double Ds, perhaps you want to find out what the potential aftermath might be first. Here now are the plastic surgery risks you likely haven’t considered.

    FACTOID: Between 1995 and 2005, women’s cosmetic surgery procedures went up by 700%

    Liposuction is a surgical procedure that removes unwanted deposits of fat from specific areas of the body.

    Plastic Surgery Risks
    Toxicity – When undergoing liposuction surgery, lidocaine is used to numb the specific area. Some women have an aversion to it and may have an adverse reaction to it.

    Excessive fluid loss/accumulation – Losing an excess amount of fluid can lead to shock and fluid accumulation must be drained from the body, otherwise friction burns or skin and nerve damage may occur.

    Death – If the formation of fat and/or blood clots occurs, they can find their way to the lungs and lead to death.

    Breast augmentation
    Breast augmentation is a procedure used to enhance a woman’s breast size, preferably making it proportionate to the body (usually not the case).

    Plastic Surgery Risks
    Permanent scarring/formation of scar tissue
    – Although scars are usually hidden underneath the skin, sometimes scar tissue forms in excess causing an unsightly scar near the breasts.

    Nerve/sensory damage – It is possible that you can lose all sensation in your nipples, and breasts for that matter.

    Problems moving muscles – Your pectoral muscles may get damaged during the surgery and although the soreness may dissipate after awhile, the damage may be permanent.

    Numbness – Certain parts of your chest may become numb and remain that way.

    Discoloration of the skin – Scar tissue may leave certain areas of your breasts with discoloration that will not respond to tanning.

    Tissue necrosis – Some of the living tissue or cells in the surrounding areas may die due to the trauma from surgery.

    Asymmetry – After the surgery, your breasts may be uneven, too far apart or one nipple may be lower than the other. To repair it, you will have to undergo another surgery.

    Infection – You may be prescribed antibiotics after the surgery if you end up getting an infection, which is quite common.

    Eyelid surgery
    Eyelid surgery is used to lift or remove excess skin from the upper or lower skin around the eye and can be done by persons of any age.

    Plastic Surgery Risks
    – An infection that results in further eye complications could result from the surgery and antibiotics would be necessary to alleviate it.

    Bleeding – It is possible that the surgery leaves an accumulation of blood under the skin that may require removal.

    Asymmetry – Eyes may not end up looking the same, and one can end up higher, bigger or thicker than the other. A follow up surgery would be necessary to resolve the problem.

    Excessive skin removal – If the surgeon ends up taking too much skin off of the lower or upper eyelid, the result may be constant tearing at the tear drain. Another surgery to resolve the issue would be necessary.

    Drooping lid – Ptosis, or a drooping eyelid may occur after surgery. According to popular surgeons, the problem tends to resolve itself after a few months, but sometimes another surgery is necessary, especially if the ptosis is caused by injury to the levator muscle and tendon (eyelid).

    Vision problems – Double and loss of vision may occur after the surgery and permanent blindness occurs in 1 out every 10,000 cases. But immediate vision problems that occur are mainly due to excess tearing, excess mucus and swelling, and vision is usually restored after that.

    Tummy tuck
    Also referred to as “abdominoplasty,” this procedure is a major surgery that removes excess fat and skin from the abdominal region.

    Plastic Surgery Risks
    Numbness – Areas of the tummy may become numb immediately after surgery, but the sensation should return after a few days. Keep in mind, however, that it is possible to end up with a permanently diminished sensation.

    Belly button shape change – The navel may become wider, slimmer, deeper, or move to a different area on your tummy altogether. The way you heal will determine where it remains. If you’re unhappy with the result, a second surgery will be necessary.

    Scarring – an accumulation of scar tissue may occur and be quite visible, and may necessitate a second surgery. Smokers are most likely to experience scarring.

    Breast lift
    Also referred to as mastopexy, a breast lift is a procedure that lifts or reshapes breasts. This procedure can also be used to make the areolas (dark skin surrounding the nipples) smaller.

    Plastic Surgery Risks
    Scarring – During the procedure, the nipples are removed and an incision is made down the middle of the bottom part of the breast. Although the scar will heal, it will remain visible.

    Asymmetry – It’s possible that the nipples or even the entire breasts become unaligned following the procedure and a follow-up surgery may be necessary to resolve the problem.

    Permanent loss of sensitivity in breasts or nipples – While loss of sensation in the breasts and nipples is rarely permanent, it could take months before the sensitivity returns.

    Are the plastic surgery risks worth it?

    Now that you know what all the potential complications and plastic surgery risks you might be taking, if you’re still adamant about going under the knife in the name of beauty and self-esteem, make sure to do your homework and find a reputable surgeon. Your objective should be to come out of the surgery looking and feeling better.

    Good luck.
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