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Plastic surgery safety has grown by leaps and bounds over recent decades.

Patients can and should go into their procedure with the confidence that everything will turn out just as they expect.

Women resting comfortably after a plastic surgery procedure.

Women resting comfortably after a plastic surgery procedure.

But on rare occasions, complications do occur.

The most common complications following a surgical procedure are bleeding, infection, blood clots, and poor wound healing.

These are possible after tummy tuck surgery, liposuction, breast augmentation, and body lift surgery.

Most of the time, these complications are due to your personal risk factors.

Age

Plastic surgery can safely address aging and laxity concerns for patients at nearly any age, but it is important to know that your risk factors increase the older you are.

When you age, your tissues begin to break down, meaning that you have reduced skin elasticity and less collagen production.

Elastin and collagen are vital to wound healing. While you will eventually heal at any age, the process will be longer with less collagen and elastin.

The longer it takes to heal, the longer you are at risk of developing complications, such as infection.

Previous Health Conditions

One of the requirements for plastic surgery candidacy—especially for invasive procedures like a tummy tuck or body lift surgery—is to be in good overall health.

This includes being free from pre-existing conditions that could slow of effect the healing process.

For example, chronic conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes affect circulation and blood flow.

Patients with these conditions sometimes struggle with being able to get enough oxygen to the injured area.

Blood flow is necessary for oxygenation, and to healing. Without proper circulation, wounds will take longer and are more likely to heal poorly.

Smoking

Before and after image showing results of a female patient's tummy tuck surgery in Birmingham, Al.

Before and after image showing results of a female patient’s tummy tuck surgery in Birmingham, Al.

Smoking restricts blood circulation, and delays wound healing.

Reduced blood flow puts you at a much higher risk of developing an infection.

Smoking negatively affects your health in various ways, and most surgeons require that you stop smoking for at least one month before and after your surgery. This reduces your danger of complications both during the procedure and during the recovery.

Ignoring Your Doctor’s Recommendations

Dr. Cohn will provide you with a list of recommendations on how to take care of yourself to ensure that you heal quickly, comfortably, and healthily.

This information will include when to resume normal activities, what type of diet to follow, and when you need to get on your feet.

A successful recovery relies on the rapid healing of the incisions. Incisions heal quicker when there is proper blood circulation.

Even a healthy individual can have poor blood circulation if they remain stagnant after surgery.

While you do not want to over-exert yourself, you must get on your feet and move around after your surgery.

Ideally, patients should be on their feet the night of their surgery.

If not, they need to get up and take a leisurely walk (even if it is around your living room) the very next day. This movement will promote blood circulation and aid in the healing process.

Even though you need to get on your feet, you do not want to push yourself too much, too soon.

Over-exertion puts you at risk of re-opening your incision, which will lengthen your recovery, worsen your scar, and increase your chance of infection.

Patients should also follow a healthy, nutritious diet and drink plenty of water to keep their tissues hydrated.

To Find Out More

For more information on your surgical recovery or to find plastic surgery near you, contact Dr. Cohn by calling (205) 930-1600 or by filling out our online contact form.

Dr. Cohn offers breast, body, and face procedures in Birmingham, Alabama.