Is it possible to avoid complications from aesthetic procedures?

We undergo aesthetic surgeries primarily to improve our life. At first, everybody focuses mostly on the aesthetic effect of the surgery and we often forget that even an aesthetic surgery is a risky operation. How significant are the risks of aesthetic surgeries? How best to avoid them? In which cases can the surgeon minimize the risk of complication, and when is the surgeon helpless? How can the client prevent possible complications?

The risks of surgical procedures in aesthetic medicine are usually related in two ways  – either they are dramatized or, on contrary, minimized. For this reason, it is necessary to view them realistically, which means accept that risks do exist, however they are not common in terms of overall percentage. Compared to common operations in other surgical fields, the aesthetic surgeries have one advantage – there is always the time to plan carefully, to operate under optimal and compensated health conditions of the client and, if necessary, to postpone the procedure if there is a risk to client’s health.

Before the surgery

The basic way to minimize risks is good preparation for the procedure which consists primarily of a pre-operative examination, states Karel Urban, M.D. from the Esthé clinic in Prague. Its scope depends on the seriousness of the planned procedure; usually it includes blood tests, urine tests, ECG and an examination by a specialist for internal medicine. The purpose of this examination is to assure that no serious diseases and disorders in some body organs exist, which could complicate the course of operation or the recovery period. In the field of aesthetic surgery, the surgeon can also demand specific examination according to the type of performed procedure. Examples include breast examination before breast surgery, ORL examination before procedures in the nose area or an examination by an ophthalmologist before the eyelid surgery. The surgeon, as well as the anesthetist, will again examine the client before the surgery. The surgeon will inform the client about the course and risks of anesthesia, ask about regularly taken medicines, allergy to medical substances and reactions to previous anesthesia.  In the period directly before the surgery, the client should not be exposed to any infectious disease, or even anything as banal as cold, the plastic surgeon Dr. Urban stresses.

What are the risks?

The risks from aesthetic procedures can be divided into two groups; the first includes general complications, which can appear after virtually every operation, and the second group includes risks specific to the particular procedure. General risks include thromboembolic events, which are a risk mainly after extensive procedures. The risk may be reduced by preventive distribution of anti-clotting medication but also by wearing elastic compression stockings and by early mobilization after the surgery, Dr. Urban comments the prevention. Factors like smoking, obesity and hormonal contraception play a role in the development of thromboembolism and these facts must be considered. Although risks are very low, particularly in young clients undergoing, for example, a breast surgery, they can never be entirely excluded. Early infection in the wound is another possible complication after surgery. It is rather rare because aesthetic procedures are performed under strict aseptic conditions and every workplace must meet hygiene requirements for health institutions.  Despite clear rules, this fact is in many respects dependent also on the responsible approach of health staff. Therefore we recommend selecting a recognized clinic specializing in aesthetic procedures with permanent and experienced staff who accurately follow the rules of hygiene, Dr. Urban recommends. Some procedures are suitably performed with an antibiotic cover to prevent infectious complications. It is always necessary to observe the wound healing process and suppress any infection by early treatment.  This has an impact on the length of hospitalization after an aesthetic procedure, which should not be affected by financial costs of the stay in hospital. It is always necessary to take into account the current health condition of the client and the risk of complication. Other risks of surgeries include increased bleeding; the patient can also be at risk to an allergic reaction to medication. Reactions to medication have different forms – from banal skin symptoms to serious reaction in the form of anaphylactic shock. Every clinic must be sufficiently prepared and technically equipped for these events. Other post-operative complications include abnormal scar healing, which in aesthetic surgery is perceived to be more serious, which patients tend to be predisposed to genetically or by individual inclination.  This complication can be never assessed before the operation, only based on information provided by the client who had already problems with scar healing in the past, after another operation or injury. Every aesthetic procedure also brings some specific risks, which the surgeon should stress within consultation.  To reduce the risks to a minimum, it is necessary to choose an experienced and certified plastic surgeon and a quality clinic. However, one hundred percent elimination is not possible even in these cases.  A respectable clinic not only informs the client about the fact, but also knows how to solve the complications correctly within the possibilities of medicine, concludes.
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