Plastic Surgery: What Could Go Wrong

You might assume that someone older may have more medical issues that can hinder them from having plastic surgery and garnering good results. But, age isn’t the real factor here—your health is what makes you a good candidate for surgery. No matter your age, keeping critical health information from your surgeon can lead to problems during and after surgery that may not be easy to fix.

If you have severe kidney problems, you could experience kidney failure. If the patient already has poor kidney function, the stress of a surgery can trigger kidney failure, says San Diego plastic surgeon Juan Carlos Fuentes, MD.

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If you have a preexisting infection, deformities may develop. Deformities tend to arise when the wrong procedure is done, the procedure is done inappropriately, infection occurs, or the body can’t handle surgery or its recovery.

When nerves are damaged or further damaged in surgery, it becomes difficult, and sometimes impossible, to make facial expressions and the eyes or mouth may droop (this can happen at any age).

If you have sleep apnea, you could experience respiratory arrest. Sleep apnea patients can encounter complications with surgery because any strong narcotics or painkillers that are taken can lead to respiratory arrest. “Procedures can be done, but overnight monitoring is crucial,” says Eugene, OR, plastic surgeon Mark Jewell, MD.

If you are allergic to anesthesia, you could experience respiratory depression, which could lead to severe complications.

If you have heart issues, you could have a heart attack or abnormal heart activity. “Conditions such as significant heart disease can limit your ability to undergo surgery,” says Lake Mary, FL, plastic surgeon Edward Gross, MDYour surgeon should obtain a proper cardiac evaluation and medical clearance from your cardiologist or primary physician, as this condition increases the risk for complications.

If you have uncontrolled diabetes levels, it can potentially lead to a diabetic coma. When diabetes is not kept in check, it can lead to post-surgical infections, or even worse, a diabetic coma. “When diabetic patients do not have control of their glucose levels in their blood and add the stress of surgery, those levels can rise and lead to a diabetic coma,” says Dr. Fuentes.

If you are overweight, you could develop an infection or delayed healing. Studies show that overweight patients are more likely to face complications after their surgeries. That is why it’s recommended to be close to your ideal weight and in good physical health.

If you suffer from a mental illness, you could sink into a depression. The stress (mentally and physically) from surgery, mixed with anesthesia, painkillers and the inability to resume your day-to-day life (during healing), can cause those who have a psychiatric illness to experience extreme anxiety and depression, as well as exacerbated symptoms.

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