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Plastic Surgery Horrors: Risks and Complications You Face When Going Under the Knife

Plastic Surgery Horrors: Risks and Complications You Face When Going Under the Knife

They say beauty is pain, but how much pain is too much?

The plastic surgery industry is a billion-dollar business that continues to grow daily. People line up for free consultations to look and feel better about themselves. What is not often publicized though is the plastic surgery dangers that follow a procedure. Some people looking to make minor changes on their face or body end up having major health or physical deformities, which begs the question of is plastic surgery safe?

Here’s more on how plastic surgery risks and complications can leave you with ugly results.

Common Plastic Surgery Complications

It’s typical to experience severe pain after a cosmetic procedure. What is not typical is having fluid leaking out of you or parts of your skin falling on the floor. Plenty of plastic surgery horror stories have plagued the internet, from people experiencing nerve damage to serious infections that leave people physically disfigured. There are many reacquiring injuries that have not been popularized, though. Below are the most common post-op nightmares that sadly for many are a reality.

Implant leakage: Amongst the plastic surgery community, there is a belief that implants need to be changed out for new ones every 10 years. Even though this has been proven to be false, what is not false is the fact that people who have aged implants are more at risk for a rupture or leakage. Manufacturers claim that “implants last a lifetime.” As time progresses though, the shell around an implant becomes weaker. One of the main reasons implants pop is due to the tissue around the implant hardening and putting an extreme amount of pressure leading to a rupture. Other causes of an implant bursting is a patient experiencing a blow to the chest, for instance, hitting the steering wheel hard in a car accident. Since the body absorbs the silicone or saline from the implant if popped, the physical aftermath can be excruciating. Patients who have experienced an implant bursting have endured symptoms such as burning sensations and swelling. 

Silicone or Oil injections: Many people looking to alter their physical appearance mainly focus on one thing; price. Soon-to-be plastic surgery patients also look for fast results. Silicone, saline and even oil injections have been a staple on the black market over recent years and has been deemed as dangerous by the Food and Drug Administration. In recent years silicone injections have been popular amongst people seeking to contour their bodies. This is used as an alternative instead of receiving breast or buttocks implants to enhance sections of the body. Silicone butt injections have gained much negative attention due to people dying in a basement or in the emergency room. What silicone and saline are meant to do is plump the area where it is injected. It’s not only women that are partaking in this underground procedure, but men are also injecting to obtain a more muscular look. Men who have had injections put in their biceps or triceps have a higher risk of having body parts being amputated.


Organ damage: The organs that endure a cosmetic surgery risk during a procedure depends on where the surgery is performed. Puncturing an organ can not only result in further surgery to correct the error but it can also lead to a person dying on the operating table. If the organ is punctured this can lead to internal bleeding. Liposuction is one of the most common procedures that is associated with organ damage. During liposuction operations, surgeons operate using a tool known as the cannula. The cannula is a thin tube used to drain or suction out the fat in an area of the body. The cannula is inserted in the “subcutaneous tissue layer” which stores fat cells. Problems arise during liposuction surgeries when a “surgeon” goes to deep and punctures passed the “subcutaneous tissue layer”. If a surgeon is sucking out fat from the abdomen and punctures too far into the abdomen wall, a patient can suffer from gallbladder or bowel issues. This can also lead to a patient suffering from a deep vein thrombosis, dvt, meaning a person can suffer from severe blood clots.

Loss of blood: Hypovolemic shock is a result of a person losing 20% percent of their blood supply. If a large amount is taken out and not a controlled amount of fluid or blood is provided during surgery, the patient can go into shock. The cause of bleeding may not be during or post plastic surgery operation, but it is possible that the cause started before the procedure.  Being diabetic or taking aspirin before an operation can heighten the risk of a patient losing an excessive amount of blood. Other medications that can cause a patient to bleed can be anti-depressants. Your surgeon should give you a list before-hand of the medications you need to stop taking before surgery. If your surgeon does not provide you with a list of what to avoid then this can be recognized as negligence on behalf of the surgeon.

Complications with anesthesia: Waking up during surgery can cause severe mental and emotional disturbances in a patient. This has been proven over recent years to be a reality amongst plastic surgery patients. The role of an anesthesiologist is to “monitor anesthesia and vital bodily functions during the procedure.” Problems with anesthesia arise when the incorrect anesthesia is used. There are four types of anesthesia: local, regional, conscious sedation and general anesthesia. Each one serves a different purpose for a specific procedure as listed below.

  • Local anesthesia: This type of anesthesia is used when a small body part is being operated on. An example procedure that local anesthesia is used for is when a person is receiving stitches. The patient is 100% conscious and alert with this type of anesthesia.
  • Regional anesthesia: When a woman during labor is given an epidural, this is an example of regional anesthesia. This kind of anesthesia is used to numb a larger part of the body. The patient stays awake when this type of anesthesia is given as well.
  • Conscious sedation: Conscious sedation is normally used amongst dentist for short procedures such as getting your wisdom teeth pulled out. The patient may wake up feeling a bit dazed and depending on the sensitivity of the patient the effects will be experienced from 5-30 minutes. Patients can also still  breathe on their own and communicate with medical professionals.
  • General anesthesia: In most plastic surgery procedures general anesthesia is the most common anesthesia to use. A patient is put on a ventilator to aid with breathing because they are completely unconscious. The problem occurs with general anesthesia is if a medical professional is not well informed of the patient’s medical history. People with underlying conditions that affect the heart or lungs can suffer from a blood clot, stroke or even die.

Psychological effects of plastic surgery

It is a common theme for plastic surgery clients to come out of an operation with a healthy new dose of self-esteem. Research has indicated that over a one-year period, around 87% percent of patients experienced positive effects of plastic surgery mentally and emotionally.

Others, though, come out of the operating room depressed or even suicidal. Experts say that the problem with mental issues didn’t start post-surgery though; professionals say depression if felt intensely afterward, had been lingering before the procedure. Research Digest reported that in a controlled study performed by Norwegian researchers, women who did experience depression after an operation had a history of mental disorders such as depression and anxiety. Data also revealed that eating disorders, suicidal tendencies and drug abuse were associated with cosmetic surgery procedures.

The Dermal Dilemma

Over 2.2 million people inject their face with hydrolytic acid. People looking to smooth the marionette lines or to shape their nose without going under the knife are now going under the needle for dermal fillers.

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved a select number of fillers being safe which include:

  • Juvederm Vollure
  • Juvederm Volbella
  • Juvederm Voluma
  • Sculptra
  • Belotero
  • Radiesse

The most common side effects of dermal fillers are swelling and redness, but since there has been a rise in filler procedures, there has also been a rise in botched filler jobs. Patients who inject dermal fillers into their faces have also been left with parts of their face being paralyzed or are left blind.

MD, William Marshall Guy, shared on why a person would go blind with a dermal filler.

The reason it can develop is unlike the legs where there are little valves that make sure blood only goes one way, in the face these do not exist.  If filler is placed into a blood vessel it can go backwards and travel to the vessels that supply the eye.  This occurs more commonly when injections are placed around the eye or between the eyes.  However, it can occur when injecting the folds around the mouth,” said Guy.

Even if a person is injected with fillers that are approved by the FDA, risks are still involved if the injector is not certified to do the procedure. Experts say medical professionals such as board-certified plastic surgeons, dermatologists or facial plastic surgeons are the safest injectors to pick to reduce the risks of complications.

Fat Injection Incidents

A new trend of mothers going under the knife and receiving a “mommy makeover” procedure has emerged fiercely. Some of the procedures that come in the “mommy makeover” packaged deal include breast augmentation, liposuction and one of the most popular surgery’s a Brazilian butt lift.

A Brazilian butt lift involves a surgeon taking the fat from places such as the stomach or hips and transferring it to the buttocks to achieve a curvaceous figure.

It’s trying to achieve that “Kardashian” approved backside worth the risk though?


The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has reported concerns among the Brazilian butt lift procedure. One primary concern is that many of the people performing the operation are uncertified plastic surgeons.

Experts say opting out for butt implants would be the safest route to enhance your assets. If you are willing to put in the work, a perky booty can also be achieved by working out.

Traveling South of the Border for plastic surgery?

If you are thinking of traveling to Mexico and other countries such as Columbia for a cosmetic procedure, you may want to think twice before buying a plane ticket. Women and men frequently take trips to foreign countries to go under the knife. The publicity for plastic surgery overseas has been far from pretty, though.

Irma Saenz story is one of many women who journeyed across the border for cosmetic procedures and just like many women before her she did not make it out alive. The fifty-one-year-old passed away at a hospital in San Diego after undergoing a liposuction procedure.

The family of Saenz says that going out of the country to save money has severe risks and consequences. “It’s not worth it. It wasn’t worth it for my sister…You see a lot of people getting their bodies redone. And some people that don’t have the financial backing are looking for a way of getting it done at a cheaper cost and I think that’s what my aunt did,”  Carmen Quintana shared with CBSLA.

Head Mexico’s Association of Plastic Surgeons Dr. Jose Luis Romero Zarate voiced his concern to NBCNews about botched surgeries and strongly urged prospective patients to do thorough research on a surgeon before taking the plunge.

Before You Go Under the Knife…

Going in for a plastic surgery operation is scary; even with the best doctors, there are still huge risks. There are precautions that you can take though to ease the nervousness and the process of your procedure.

5 Expert Tips on what to do before considering plastic surgery:

  1. Your health as of right now: If you are taking any medications for blood pressure or for your heart you must notify your surgeon. It is strongly suggested that you go to your primary doctor and get a copy of your medical history. A plastic surgeon cannot perform a thorough physical assessment of you. You need to be your own health advocate.
  2. Risks involved with the procedure: Every procedure whether it be cosmetic or a medical procedure such as open-heart surgery, is subject to error. Also, every person’s body reacts differently from the surgery, for instance, some people are very sensitive to the anesthesia and sometimes wake up vomiting. Asking what the normal side effects and areas that will experience great pain for the type of surgery you are interested in, will better prepare you and make you more aware of what you will need post-op or health care.
  3. Ask many questions: You cannot go into a plastic surgery consultation without asking questions. If you go into surgery blind, you may not be happy with the results when you wake up. Some questions to ask would be if you are an ideal candidate for the surgery, the aftercare that will be involved and the average recovery time.
  4. Alternatives to plastic surgery: You do not have to opt for plastic surgery to achieve what you want. There are many less invasive procedures that are performed every day. People who are looking to fill in wrinkles and do not want to undergo a facelift go for Botox. If people want a more sculpted figure they undergo fat-sculpting procedures.
  5. Research is key: Just because one surgeon was the right fit for your friend does not mean it will be the right fit for you. Experts suggest that clients should partake in multiple consultations to help you weigh a procedure’s plastic surgery risks and benefits. Plastic surgery is a huge decision and the results, depending on how involved the operation is can be permanent. Tyler Angelos, Ohio plastic surgeon told Health Scene Ohio that having a great relationship is half the battle in undergoing plastic surgery. Angelos stated, “It is extremely important that you have a good relationship with your plastic surgeon. He or she should be not only someone you trust and respect but someone you feel listens to you and someone you feel comfortable around. After medical school, he or she should have completed a plastic surgery residency at an accredited training program and have experience in the surgery of interest to you.”


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