THE RISKS – Plastic and Esthetic Surgery

There are several important factors that come into play when deciding whether cosmetic or aesthetic surgery and non surgical treatments are the right option for you. One of the most important factors is your health. Being in good health greatly reduces the risk of complications that may occur during surgery and leads to a speedy recovery.

Next, you need to ask yourself what your motivations are. People who have cosmetic or aesthetic surgery and non surgical treatments generally find that aesthetic surgery and non surgical treatments enhance their overall appearance, comfort and self-esteem.

Thirdly, you should have realistic expectations. Cosmetic surgery and medical treatments are both a science and an art, neither of which are perfect. You should set reasonable goals as to the result you wish to achieve and be prepared to thoroughly discuss these goals during your initial consultation with Dr. Cordoba.

Each plastic and aesthetic surgery has its risks and potential complications. Depending on the type of procedure, whether it is invasive or non-invasive, and your anatomy, there are more and less severe risks and complications. Only being aware of the risks and complications will you be able to make a responsible decision before undergoing cosmetic surgery or non surgical treatments.


Part of the risks may be prevented:

  • by following the medical instructions given to you by Dr. Cordoba
  • by informing Dr. Cordoba in time about any complication that may have occurred
  • by not self-treating yourself

No one who chooses a cosmetic procedure is risk-free.

Although there is a small probability of death, cosmetic surgery fatal outcomes are uncommon.

Necrosis or skin loss: the risk is usually higher in smokers or individuals wearing a nicotine patch. During cosmetic surgery, the surgeon makes incisions that may affect the already poor blood supply to the area being operated on.

Asymmetry: to begin with, the body has naturally occurring asymmetries. Post operatively these naturally occurring asymmetries may or may not be corrected. The healing process may also contribute to post-operative asymmetry.

Deformation, irregularities: scar tissue formation and/or complications during the healing process may contribute to coontour irregularities of the surgical site.

Infection: with any incision, there is always a risk of bacteria crossing the skin’s protective barrier. This would lead to swelling, redness, pain, fever, chills, and fatigue. Infection may require treatment with antibiotics, proper hygiene and even additional surgery.

Bleeding: in a surgical site may lead to a collection of blood (a hematoma) that may require surgical drainage, if significant.

Reoperation: any surgery may require reoperation, for example: correction of deformities, irregularities, asymmetry, necrosis, infection, bleeding and scar revision.

Pain: after any procedure there may be pain that normally will improve within a couple of weeks. Occasionally, the pain may last for several months or longer.

Alteration in sensitivity: with any cosmetic procedure there is a risk of losing sensation partially or totally. This may be due to injuring of nerves during the procedure. Normally, sensitivity comes back within a year. If not, it is permanent.

Delayed healing: all wounds may have the possibility of taking longer to heal due to wound opening, infection, bleeding, smoking and concomittent medical problems.

Scarring: all medical procedures have the potential of unsightly scars such as hypopigmentation, hyperpigmentation, widening of scars, raised scars (hypertrophic) or large scars (keloids). Some of these scars may be amenable to a scar revision one year after the intervention.

Blood clots (emboli): pulmonary or fat emboli may lead to partial collapse of the lungs after general anaesthesia. Blood clots from a deep vein thrombosis or fat emboli that travel and end up in the lungs may be life threatening or fatal.

Paralysis may occur with any procedure if the motor nerves are injured. Normally, if the nerves can be repaired, this may help regain mobility. After most surgeries this may be temporary. In some unfortunate cases this may be permanent if there is no improvement within a year.

Blindness may occur after procedures located around the eyes such as cosmetic eyelid surgery or a facial peel, Botox, filler injections and fat grafting.

Implant visibility and palpability: breast, calf, pectoral, chin, cheek implants will become enveloped by scar tissue. This scar tissue may become very adherent to the implant and in turn may cause a deformity. This capsule may make the contour of the implant visible through the skin.

Hypo- or hyperpigmentation: any cosmetic procedure resulting in scarring, including laser and chemical peels, may cause skin depigmentation (hypopigmentation or loss of skin color) or excess pigmentation of the skin (hyperpigmentation or increased intensity of skin color). Alteration of skin color may also take place following any cosmetic surgery as result of skin inflammation or skin damage.

Allergies: there are several possible causes of an allergic reaction. Local or general anaesthesia, pain medications may cause an allergic reaction. In some cases, silicone implants, sutures and dressings may cause allergic reaction in patients who are sensitive. If you suspect that you might have any potential allergy, be sure to alert Dr. Coroba. You may require allergy testing before your cosmetic surgery or treatment.

Recovery sometimes may take more time than foreseen. It depends on the procedure you have undergone. A longer recovery period is especially frequent in patients who undergo several procedures at the same time. All the above mentioned risks may also affect post-surgical healing and lengthen recovery time.

Risks and potential complications are associated with all medical or surgical procedures.