What Are the Side Effects of Cosmetic Surgery?

Article Details
  • Written By: Kay Paddock
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 17 May 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article

Cosmetic surgery, which is often called plastic surgery, is a term for several different types of procedures that are used to change a person's appearance. The side effects of cosmetic surgery can vary greatly depending on several different factors, including the type of surgery, the body part that is altered, the general health of the patient and the skill of the surgeon. There are also some very common side effects of cosmetic surgery that most patients should expect, such as mild nausea, tenderness, limited swelling, bruising, and redness of the skin around the surgery site.

Medical procedures used to change or enhance the physical appearance range from simple eyebrow lifts to complete body modifications. In general, any type of elective surgery requiring a general anesthetic that is done to improve appearance is usually considered cosmetic surgery. For example, a face lift, a tummy tuck, liposuction and breast augmentation are all different types of cosmetic surgery. Other procedures to improve a person's looks may be done in a doctor's office with only a localized pain killer. Injections of wrinkle fillers, for instance, are considered cosmetic procedures, not surgery, and typically have fewer side effects.


The most common side effects of cosmetic surgery are basically the same as the typical side effects found after any type of major surgery. Some pain around the incisions, redness in the area and mild swelling are usually to be expected. The less invasive the procedure, the less pain and swelling there usually is. A minor face lift to remove wrinkles, for instance, will most likely be less painful and have fewer side effects than a stomach liposuction and tummy tuck surgery that involves a much larger area of the body.

Bruising typically is normal as well, and may persist for several days after all the other common side effects have gone away. Unusual looking bruises or bruises that change rapidly should be brought to a doctor's attention because they could signify new bleeding. One other very common side effect of cosmetic surgery is a slightly numb feeling in the affected area. This could take several days to several months to completely go away, depending on the type of surgery.

Each surgery may cause slightly different side effects because each procedure is different. Regardless of the type of operation, most normal side effects of cosmetic surgery go away on their own. All surgery also carries some fairly rare but serious risks of which patients should be aware. These include such issues as infection, bleeding, blood clots, and allergic reactions to medications or anesthesia. These are possible complications no matter what type of surgery a person has.



Discuss this Article

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?