Complications of plastic surgery 

As with any type of surgery, plastic surgery has associated risks and complications.

The degree of risk depends on whether the surgery is in a small or large area, the surgeon's level of experience and the overall health of the person having the procedure.

Complications from plastic surgery can include:

  • pain and discomfort – which may require painkillers for a few days
  • bleeding – which may require a blood transfusion if severe
  • infection – which may require antibiotics or further surgery
  • scars – you will have scars where incisions were made during surgery, although these will usually fade over time
  • implant failure – if an implant is used during plastic surgery, there is a chance that this could leak and change shape, in which case further surgery may be needed to replace it
  • skin graft or flap failure – a skin graft or flap can die if the blood supply to the area is restricted; if this happens, further surgery will be needed to remove it before you can have reconstructive surgery again

You should discuss with your surgeon the risks associated with your particular type of plastic surgery.

If you have any concerns regarding your recovery from a surgical procedure, such as pain, swelling, discharge or any other unexpected side effects, speak to your surgeon, GP or healthcare team immediately.


Page last reviewed: 08/04/2015

Next review due: 08/04/2017