Each year, about 15 million people choose to undergo some form of plastic surgery, often to improve their appearance and self-esteem. While plastic surgery is a personal choice, those who elect to have a procedure need to know that, like with any type of surgery, there are health risks involved.

The majority of plastic surgeries are performed without any adverse consequences. Most post-surgery complications are expected and subside over time, such as bruising.

However, some complications after plastic surgery may be due to medical malpractice. In these cases, a patient could be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, additional medical expenses, lost wages, and any disfigurement resulting from the surgery.

Here are some of the most common risks that plastic surgery patients should be aware of before deciding to go under the knife.


While doctors and hospitals are supposed to take measures to minimize surgical and post-operative infections, plastic surgery poses an infection risk, just like any other type of medical procedure. In particular, 2-4 percent of breast surgery patients contract an inflammatory skin infection called cellulitis, which should be treated immediately with antibiotics.

Anesthesia complications

Some type of anesthesia is used in plastic surgery. Complications associated with anesthesia may lead to a lung infection, stroke, heart attack, and even death. The most common anesthesia risks are disorientation and grogginess after surgery. But some patients have experienced anesthesia awareness, which is waking up during surgery.

Nerve or Organ Damage

Because nerves proliferate the human body, there is always the potential that nerves will be damaged during surgery. For example, a plastic surgery patient may experience numbness and/or tingling after the procedure. Women who have a breast augmentation often experience a change in breast sensitivity, especially around the nipples. And some surgeries, particularly liposuction, can harm internal organs and increase the risk of visceral perforations (puncture wounds in an organ).


A hematoma is a collection of blood outside the blood vessels and usually resembles a large bruise. A hematoma is the most common complication after a facelift, but can also occur after a breast augmentation. A severe hematoma may require additional surgeries to drain the blood.


Seroma occurs when blood plasma pools beneath the surface of the skin due to ruptured blood vessels. Seroma, the most common complication after a tummy tuck, often produces swelling and pain. Seromas can also become infected and may need to be drained with a needle.