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Plastic Surgery Complications: Warning Signs Patients Should Know

By Dr. Suzanne Yee on June 22, 2018


A man checking his face in the mirrorOur team always wants to make sure that patients recovery quickly and fully, with as few problems as possible. As part of the consultation process, we offer patients information on warning signs of surgical complications. It’s just one way we ensure the people who come to our Little Rock, AR plastic surgery center are well looked after.

Below is a list of complication warning signs. Whether you’ve undergone facial plastic surgery or a body contouring procedure, these signs of severe side effects need to be taken seriously.

Increased Pain and Discomfort

Pain and soreness are common side effects after undergoing surgical procedures. Usually the pain subsides after several days. If there is no improvement in pain or the pain gets worse even with pain killers, this is usually a sign that something is seriously wrong.

Swelling Does Not Go Down

Swelling after surgery usually lasts about two weeks, with minor swelling and residual swelling lasting a few weeks longer. If the swelling does not go down or becomes worse, this is often a sign of a complication that requires professional medical attention.

Bruising Becomes Worse

Bruises after surgery typically last for two weeks, with residual discoloration lasting for a few weeks after that. If bruising darkens or spreads as you are recovering, this is a sure sign that an infection or other serious complication has occurred.

Excessive Bleeding

Some minor bleeding may occur in the first day or so of surgical recovery. If bleeding continues after a few days, or you experience excessive bleeding after surgery, that may be a sign of a failed suture or of the wound not healing properly.

Heat Around Treatment Area

When the area around the incisions feels excessively hot, this is typically a telltale sign of an infection. Patients will often notice this heat accompanied by redness or discoloration as well as any of the other symptoms we’ve noted here.

Running a Fever

A fever is never a good sign when you’re recovering from a surgical procedure. That’s often a sign of an infection, or that your body is being overworked. In fact, if you catch a cold or run a fever before surgery, we may postpone your operation date until later just to avoid cold-like symptoms as you recover.

Fatigue and Exhaustion

When your body is working overtime to repair itself, it can take a lot out of your system. If you feel tired after a few days of rest after surgery, this could be the sign that your body is fighting off more than it can handle, such as an infection or other complication.

Strange Fluid Discharge

Some leaking from incision sites may occur in the early stages of healing. Drainage tubes may be used to help get this fluid out of the system. The color of the fluid should be pinkish and the liquid should be somewhat clear. If the fluid is discolored or of an alarming consistency or volume, this is usually the sign of something wrong.

Off-Putting Smells

The nose has a knack for detecting something is off. If you notice off-putting or unpleasant odors around the incision area, that’s definitely something you’ll want to have examined by a professional.

What to Do If You Notice These Warning Signs

If you notice any of the warning signs we’ve listed, be sure to contact your plastic surgeon as soon as possible. Immediate attention allows these complications to be treated promptly, preventing numerous health risks.

Contact Our Cosmetic Surgery Center

For more information about plastic surgery complications and how we can help you achieve the best possible results, we encourage you to contact an experienced plastic surgeon. We are here to offer answers and insight that are helpful to your needs.

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Love Dr. Yee! She is very caring and patient, and she answered any questions I had. She has a very knowledgeable and friendly staff as well. Highly recommend her. Best of the best!

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