Cosmetic surgery, rightly or wrongly, is associated with the quest for beauty writes Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS) Member, Associate Professor Mark Gianoutsos.
Cosmetic surgery appeals to all genders, cultures and age groups with people of all ethnicities and from all walks of life going under the knife for aesthetic reasons.
Truth is, whether you call it cosmetic surgery, aesthetic surgery or plastic surgery, all surgery carries serious risks. Especially if there is a need for a patient to be anaesthetised. Some of the horrors you want to avoid are detailed below.
One of the most significant risks concerning cosmetic surgery is being disappointed with the results.
A failure to meet expectations is usually because of a misunderstanding about the results. Either the patient did not articulate their desired outcome, or the surgeon was not clear enough about the results they were going to be able to achieve.
When you have invested the money and the time into having elective surgery, a disappointing result can be a real let down.
Scarring is not always predictable, but in the right hands, and with the right techniques, in most cases, it can be controlled. Some ethnicities are more susceptible to scarring. Proper aftercare is essential, but some genetic factors will also come into play
Placement of your scar hidden underneath your breast or underwear line, depending on the procedure, will help to minimise its visibility.
It’s essential to know and understand where your surgeon is intending on making his or her incision to ensure you are happy with the placement.
Tissue death, or necrosis, is another risk which can be caused by surgery or by issues that arise after the procedure.
As with any surgical procedure, bleeding can and will occur. Bleeding becomes an issue when it is excessive, or continues after the wound should have healed.
Following surgery, the area may be swollen and bruised in appearance. If there is a pocket of blood underneath the skin, this can be extremely painful.
A blood clot is a common risk of many procedures, not just cosmetic surgeries. The most common type is a deep vein thrombosis or DVT, a clot that develops in the leg. Most DVTs require medical attention but are not life-threatening unless the clot begins to move through the veins toward the heart and lungs.
It is also a potential that nerves can become damaged or severed during a surgical procedure. The result is more prominent, however, if it is a facial nerve.
Failure to disclose an allergy or if you have an unknown allergy can result in an allergic reaction. This could be due to latex gloves, the bandages or a type of medicine used during the anaesthetic.
The most devastating of all possible risks is the risk of death. While that risk may be less than one per cent, death can occur during the most minor of surgeries. In many cases, this is due to a reaction to anaesthesia.
Cosmetic surgery is a unique type of surgery. Not only because it focuses on electively improving one’s self but also because any doctor with a basic medical degree can do it.
The biggest risk to patient safety is being operated on by a doctor who is performing a surgical procedure well outside their scope of practice or training.
When it comes to operating on your brain, it’s pretty evident that you want to see a Neurosurgeon. And, for your heart, it’s a Cardiothoracic surgeon.
These surgeons are Specialist Surgeons having completed a Fellowship through the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS).
Specialist Plastic Surgeons have completed their surgical training through the same accredited body. However, they are not afforded equal standing as the heart and brain surgeons with anyone with a medical degree allowed to perform cosmetic surgery. And unfortunately, the losers in this scenario are the unsuspecting patients.
If you are seeing a cosmetic surgeon for your cosmetic surgery, be aware that your doctor does not need to have completed any surgical training. It’s scary stuff! The only way to ensure your surgeon is a surgeon is to seek out the services of a doctor who has a FRACS.