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Complication Warning Signs After Plastic Surgery

By David Passaretti, MD on June 08, 2018


A woman lying downRecovering from plastic surgery can take a few weeks, but the results are worth the wait. Whether you’re undergoing facial rejuvenation surgery or a body contouring procedure, our Darien, CT will provide you with pre-op and post-op guidelines to help speed up recovery times and prevent serious complications.

As patients are recovering, it’s important that they be aware of potential complications. Below are some common warning signs that something might be wrong after a surgical procedure. If you notice any of the above, be sure to speak to your surgeon as soon as possible to the matters can be addressed.

Severe Pain and Discomfort

Pain is usually the most serious in the first day or so after surgery, improving steadily as days go by. Rest and the use of pain killers will help with these matters. However, if your pain gets worse after the first few days or is too difficult to manage, you should speak to your cosmetic surgeon right away.

Excessive Swelling

Swelling is a common side effects following any surgical procedure, and it tends to go down after two weeks, with residual swelling persisting for a few weeks afterwards. If you notice extreme or excessive swelling around the incision sites/treatment area, that’s often the sign of a serious medical issue that require attention as soon as possible.

Bruising That Does Not Fade

Bruising around the incisions will usually last for two weeks, with some residual discoloration lasting for another two weeks after that. If you notice that bruising spreads or deepens in color, that’s not a good sign. It’s important to speak with your surgeon about any spreading of localized side effects.

Heat and Fever

One of the most common signs of infection is running a fever. If you develop a fever while recovering from surgery or notice excessive heat around the incisions sites, this is never a good thing. Your plastic surgeon can offer insight into your best treatment options in these kinds of situations.

Excessive Bleeding

Some bleeding after surgery is to be expected. Usually the bleeding is minor and stops after the first day or so after your procedure. If you continue to bleed after a few days or notice excessive bleeding, this is a sign that your incisions are not healing properly. Discuss these matters with your surgeon should they arise.

Pus and Alarming Discharges

Drainage tubes are often used after body contouring and breast enhancement procedures to help prevent fluid accumulation and excessive swelling. If you notice any pus, oddly colored fluid, or other kinds of alarming discharges from drainage tubes or incision sites, this is usually a sign of an infection or other surgical complication.

Off-Putting Odors

Trust your sense of smell. More often than not, your nose is a strong detector of something being off. If you notice an off-putting smell around the incision area after surgery, this is never a good sign. Be sure to speak with a medical professional right away to have these problems addressed.

Fatigue and Exhaustion

Most patients feel groggy after surgery as the effects of anesthesia are wearing off, with some tiredness in the following day or so as the body heals. Ongoing exhaustion or low energy days after surgery tends to be a bad sign, especially when accompanied by any of the other issues we’ve noted above. Again, contact your surgeon as soon as possible when you experience anything that raises concern.

Learn More About Plastic Surgery Recovery

For more information about plastic surgery complications and how we can help you, be sure to contact an experienced cosmetic plastic surgeon. We will be more than happy to answer your questions and address your concerns.

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