Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery Risks

Surgery is a serious endeavour and should not be taken lightly.  Your genuine FRACS Specialist Plastic Surgeon will provide you with information about risks specific to your procedure and in line with your current health and skin health. 

  • To avoid increasing your plastic surgery risks, you need to be 100% honest with your Surgeon and surgical team about your medical history, prior and current medications and supplements, prior surgeries, previous surgery outcomes, psychological state, physical health, prior hospitalisations and lifestyle factors.
  • These include nutritional intake, weight fluctuations and smoking or substance use behaviours. 

Be sure to speak with your Specialist Plastic Surgeon.

  • You should also have an honest discussion about your motivations and what you’re wanting to achieve.
  • If you have unrealistic expectations about what surgery will or can do for you, the experience of having cosmetic surgery may not lead to what you’re hoping for. 
  • Be sure you ask ALL questions including about RISKS and do not proceed unless you are clear about the risks, how any complications will be managed if they occur, and what these may involve in terms of costs or future surgeries.

For healthy patients who follow surgeon’s instructions, risks of surgery can be minimised or readily treated. However, some risks of surgery are serious or can be life threatening; and some aspects of having surgery are unpredictable.



Every patient is unique, and so will be their healing and recovery experiences and discomfort or pain levels after surgery.

  • BE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND and are willing to accept the risks of cosmetic plastic before proceeding.
  • Take your time to think it through and it is typically a great idea to get a second opinion from another qualified Specialist Plastic Surgeon (you can even see a different member of our Group if you wish, as they operate independently and are all highly experienced Surgeons with extensive experience).

In general, some of the risks of having plastic surgery or cosmetic procedures include:

Reaction to General Anaesthesia – Prior to surgery you will be provided with the details of your anaesthetist in order to discuss any specific concerns you may have. Most healthy patients respond well to general anaesthesia.

Internal Bleeding (Haematoma) – Sometimes following surgery, a collection of blood may pool at the surgical site. If this occurs, a visit to the operating theatre may be required to remove the haematoma.

Internal Fluid build up (Seroma) -– Occasionally following surgery, a collection of fluid may pool near the surgical site. If this occurs, the seroma will need to be drained.

Infection – If an infection develops following surgery, your surgeon will prescribe antibiotics and monitor your progress closely.

Scarring – Scars are inevitable with surgery. In order to minimise scarring, we can use special surgical dressings, scar minimisation treatments such as DermaPen or Fraxel and Healite II following surgery. You will be offered these from the team at Coco Ruby Skin and Anti-Ageing Dermal Clinicians who are affiliated with our practice and who help us help our patients get good scar minimisation results through high-tech scar treatments.

cosmetic or plastic surgery risks

Delayed Wound Healing – Delayed wound healing will sometimes be seen in patients who are overweight, who smoke or use substances, who do not eat well, or in the area where an infection develops. Your surgeon and nurse coordinator will manage the healing process and take necessary steps if delayed wound healing occurs.

Allergies – Please let your surgeon and nurse coordinator know if you have any allergies to the following; surgical tape, suture materials, glues, blood products, topical preparations or injected agents.

Deep Vein Thrombosis or blood clots – Ask your Surgeon about these risks, especially if you will have a delayed healing time or time resting or being less active than normal.

Downtime – please don’t drive or operate heavy machinery for at least one week after general anaesthetic. Also check with your coordinator about the effect of your post-op recovery drugs on your lifestyle.


Nipple or Nerve Sensitivity – Very rarely, permanent loss of sensation can occur. Most patients find they lose sensation temporarily after surgery. However, this generally returns to normal after about six months.

Nipple Loss/Tissue Necrosis – A very rare complication that can affect all or part of the nipple, necrosis has been found to occur often in smokers.

Breast Asymmetry – (For breast surgery patients). Most women will naturally have some degree of unevenness to their breasts. This will be taken into account prior to the surgery, but it should be noted that asymmetry may be visible after surgery as well.

Breastfeeding – As with any breast surgery, ability to breastfeed may be affected after a Breast Reduction Surgery.

Source of Cosmetic Surgery risks (excerpt below): MAYO CLINIC

Excerpt from Mayo Clinic about Cosmetic Surgery complications and risks


 “Possible complications for any surgical procedure include:
  • Complications related to anesthesia, including pneumonia, blood clots and, rarely, death.
  • Infection at the incision site, which may worsen scarring and require additional surgery.
  • Fluid build up under the skin.

Possible complications for any surgical procedure, according to industry leaders at the MAYO clinic, and which apply to cosmetic or plastic surgery procedures include:

  • Complications related to anaesthesia (potentially pneumonia, DVT or blood clots and, rarely, death)
  • Infection at the incision site, which may worsen scarring and require additional surgery
  • Fluid build up under the skin (such as a Seroma)
  • Mild or prolonged bleeding, which may require another surgical procedure
  • Rarely, bleeding significant enough to require a transfusion (your risks may be higher if you take certain supplements or medications before or after surgery, so be sure to ask about these and follow your Surgeon’s instructions precisely to avoid risks; ask EVERY question you have to reduce this risk) 
  • Obvious scarring or skin breakdown, which occurs when healing skin separates from healthy skin and must be removed surgically (seen most often in patients who smoke or who have health conditions and/or lifestyle habits or substance use habits or medications that detrimentally impact their healing capacity)
  • Numbness and tingling or discomfort from nerve damage, which may be permanent

RISKS OF OTHER COSMETIC PROCEDURES: Ask your Surgeon for a list of surgery risks and recovery assistance tips.

Remember, every patient is different. 

Successful surgical outcomes are the result of a number of considerations: realistic surgical goals, realistic patient expectations, and a knowledge and understanding of possible risks and complications, plus adherence to your Surgeon’s recommendations for pre-operation and post-op patient care.

Careful patient screening and planning, highly skilled surgeons with meticulous surgical technique, and attentive post-operative care are just some of the ways we are able to minimise any potential risks or complications. Although small, less serious issues may occur – these are common and will rarely have any long term effect. Every effort is made to resolve these issues quickly to ensure an excellent final result.

If in doubt about ANY potential risks or surgery related complications – please ask your Surgeon, Nurse Coordinator.  (When you have surgery with us, you’ll be given an AFTER HOURS support phone number. Be sure you keep that number handy AND/OR seek immediate medical attention for your concerns.)