Minimizing Plastic Surgery Complications

No surgery is completely without risk, and cosmetic surgery is no exception.  According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), the facelift, or rhytidectomy, is one of the five most commonly performed cosmetic surgeries in the United States, and although the procedure has proven to be extremely safe and effective, it does carry certain inherent risks that should be taken seriously.  Fortunately, there are several procedures that I work through with my patients before, during, and after surgery that can effectively reduce the likelihood of plastic surgery complications and increase the chance for optimal surgical results.

Before Surgery:
Our initial pre-surgery consultations are the ideal time for my patients to ask as many questions as possible and educate themselves on the risks associated with their plastic surgery procedure.  It also gives me an opportunity to take a detailed and thorough patient history, an absolutely essential step in avoiding the various complications that can arise.  It is important that you bring up any serious health conditions or adverse reactions you have had in the past to anesthesia or other medications.  In addition, we will discuss your current supplements and medications, alcohol use, tobacco use and medical conditions as well as the effects these can have on your procedure.  Finally, I will also explain the increased risks involved with patients who have high blood pressure or hypertension, as well as those who take certain pain medications or blood thinners.

During Surgery:
Many minor surgical complications, like bruising and scarring, can often be minimized by a skilled and experienced surgeon.  Surgery that is completed quickly and precisely produces noticeably less bruising than longer procedures.  However, this level of skill and timing usually can only be developed after years of extensive practice.  By the same token, surgical skill plays a major role in reducing the appearance of scars or in keeping them limited to areas of the body that can be hidden altogether.  Patients who carefully follow post-operative care instructions usually experience far less noticeable scarring as well.   Unfortunately, some scarring may be inevitable, which is why I often recommend chemical peels or laser skin resurfacing treatments to help even skin tone and reduce the appearance of scars even further.

After Surgery:
The value of post-operative care, and particularly of following your doctor’s post-operative instructions, cannot be overstated.  Some of the worst stories about botched plastic surgery procedures are actually the result of patients simply failing to follow post-operative care instructions.  Moreover, diligently attending post-operative visits can often allow me to catch and correct complications before they become serious concerns.  A number of external environmental factors can also mar your plastic surgery results.  Smoking, for example, impedes the natural healing process and can result in increased scarring or skin necrosis.  Alcohol and certain medications can also thin the blood, increasing the risk of bleeding and exaggerating bruising.  Take care to avoid activities involving smoking or alcohol use for at least six weeks before and after your surgery in order to ensure a speedier recovery.

If you are interested in learning more about a plastic surgery procedure I perform, please contact me, Dr. Fernando Burstein, today.  Additionally, some reconstructive procedures may be covered by insurance, and Atlanta Plastic Surgery, P.C. provides a variety of options for financing, including CareCredit®, in order to assist you.  Be sure to connect with me on FacebookTwitter, and Google+ for the latest facial plastic surgery news.