More people are having cosmetic surgery than ever before, and the range of procedures available now means there is a type of surgery to help people who are unhappy with how they look in just about every way. Whether someone wants to look younger, augment a part of their body, so it is fuller, remove stubborn fat, or change the shape of a feature, there are surgical procedures that vary from minor operations done under local anesthetic on an outpatient basis through to serious, more invasive surgery.
While many people are delighted with the results of their cosmetic surgeries, there are some risks to consider, and these are not all physical. Here, we look at some of the things you need to be sure of before having any elective cosmetic surgery, and also some of the associated medical risks.
Recovery Time, Pain and Discomfort
Different types of cosmetic surgery take different lengths of time to heal, and healing speed also depends a lot on the person. The fitter and healthier you are, the faster you are likely to bounce back after surgery. However, there are other factors including age and genetics at play, so even if you are very fit, it is best to be conservative when making your expectations about how soon you will be fully recovered and assume it will be at the longer end of the recovery period suggested for your procedure.
You also need to consider just what being in recovery means. With some surgeries, you may just be a little sore, and will otherwise be able to carry on as normal; however other surgeries may affect what you can do – for instance, you may not be able to do any strenuous activity after a breast augmentation or have any intimate contact after vaginoplasty until you are fully healed up.
You should also have a strategy in mind for how you will manage pain and swelling during your recovery period, and when you will return to work. Many people find that all they need is a good anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen, but you may also want things like topical cream to reduce the chance of scarring. You should stock up on these over the counter medicines before your surgery in case you don’t feel well enough to go out and buy things when you come home.
The Risk of Botched Surgery
Another risk you have to think about when planning cosmetic surgery is that the results may not be what you expected, or, in the worst case of all, the surgery may go wrong. If the results of surgery are bad due to errors or negligence by the surgeon or other medical personnel involved, you will be eligible to claim for compensation for medical malpractice.
There are specialist medical negligence solicitors who help people who have been the victims of badly performed cosmetic surgery and other procedures to get the compensation they deserve. Often, firms have a no win no fee policy, which provides people with a little bit more financial security when going through the process of claiming, since hiring solicitors can often cost quite a lot of money (especially if you don’t win your claim). If you aren’t aware of anyone who works on this basis, then a good example is The Medical Negligence Claim Experts who won’t ask for any money up front.
However, to avoid these costs, it’s best to check if the surgeon you are considering already has any medical negligence claims against them and has a good reputation and reviews online.
In some cases, the surgery doesn’t get the desired results, and it isn’t a medical negligence UK issue. Some patients build their hopes up and expect more from the surgery than it can deliver or look at the very best possible results for things like liposuction which vary according to a lot of factors and are disappointed that they don’t receive those results. To avoid this kind of a disappointment, make sure you fully understand any variables involved in the specific procedure you are having, and match your expectations to what your doctor tells you is realistic.
The Results May Take Some Getting Used To
Some people are thrilled when they see the results of their surgery and never look back. For others, however, there can be a psychological effect of looking very different than they anticipated. Even people who prefer how they look post-surgery can feel a bit strange when they look in the mirror, or at photographs, and it can take a while to accept the change.
There can also be an element of physically getting used to some surgeries, especially those that significantly change how the body feels, like breast or buttock augmentation. You may feel like your center of gravity has changed or you are carrying weight where you weren’t before, and this may make some movements feel odd. Another type of surgery that can make you feel unusual in your own body is when the teeth are corrected or straightened. Having your teeth changed can feel very strange at first and can even affect how your voice sounds when you talk.
You will get used to these things over time, but at first, it may feel like you wish you could go back to feeling ‘normal,’ and so this is something you may want to anticipate.
Risks from General Anesthetic
If the surgery you are considering has to be performed under general anesthesia, then the same risks associated with any other surgery apply. Anesthesia can be dangerous, especially if you are overweight or have any pre-existing health problems, so if this is a concern, do what you can to get into the best possible shape before your surgery.
A general anesthetic will make you feel strange for a while afterward, and you absolutely mustn’t drive, drink alcohol or operate machinery. Be sure to follow all advice from your doctor.
Risk of Infection
Another medical risk is that of incisions made for the surgery to be performed becoming infected. This is something that the medical team involved in your surgery should be taking care of while you are there (otherwise this can again become a medical negligence claim situation), but you’ll need to make sure to follow any aftercare instructions you are given while you are healing. You may be prescribed antibiotics or told to use antiseptic products on any wounds from the surgery.
Your surgeon will tell you how much scarring you can expect from the type of surgery you are considering. Modern medical procedures keep visible scarring to a minimum, but there are naturally some surgeries where scarring is inevitable. With things like breast implants, surgeons aim to make the scars as invisible as possible by putting the incisions in places that aren’t easily visible.
However, if your wounds do not heal cleanly or become infected, scarring will be worse than expected. This is another reason to be sure to follow aftercare instructions to the letter. Avoidable scarring caused by surgical error or not stitching up incisions neatly would again be something you may want to talk to medical negligence lawyers about if it is very bad.
For most people, the cosmetic surgery goes well and gets the results they were hoping for, but it is important to remember that it is a serious undertaking and it is best to be fully prepared for any emotional, physical or financial risks that come alongside it before you commit. You will need to ensure you have researched the best medical negligence solicitors in the unfortunate case that something does go wrong.