10 Common Cosmetic Surgery Complications

The rising demand for cosmetic surgery is proof that there’s been greater acceptance for what have raised eyebrows in the past: nose augmentation, breast implant, and liposuction to name a few.

An increasing number of Singaporeans are electing to undergo these invasive procedures and the same can be said for non-invasive procedures that are booming in the city and beyond.

However, while cosmetic procedures delivered by the constantly-developing beauty equipment in Singapore are becoming more commonplace, these surgeries don’t come without risks of complications. These can range from minor ones such as dissatisfaction to permanently damaging conditions or worse, death.


In a previous article, we talked about the 5 dangerous aesthetic procedures you should avoid. In today’s post, we will be focusing on some of the most common cosmetic surgery complications you should be aware of.



Many patients are satisfied with the post-surgery results. But, disappointment due to deformities is also a possibility. For instance, patients who have undergone breast implant may experience contouring problems; rendering their appearance worse than before.



Because cosmetic surgery is meant to improve your appearance, scars can be particularly disturbing. For instance, hypertrophic scars such as keloid scars can occur in 1 to 3.7% of abdominoplasty (tummy tucks).



Even with postoperative care that includes proper wound care and regular handwashing, infections remains one of the most typical complications of cosmetic surgery. In some cases, infections can be internal and severe, requiring antibiotics.



Hematoma is a pocket of blood that pools outside a blood vessel. It resembles a large, painful bruise that usually develops after a breast augmentation or facelift. Although minor, this complication can be large enough to cause pain and restrict blood flow in the area.


Nerve Damage

The risk of nerve damage is present in any surgical procedure and is often manifested by numbness and a tingling sensation. The complication is temporary in most cases, but it can also be permanent, with some resulting in the inability to make facial expressions.


Excessive Bleeding

Although bleeding is expected, it can become an issue, even fatal, when it’s excessive. It can happen during or post-surgery, with the latter suggesting that the patient is being too active too soon post-procedure.


Organ Damage

There are cosmetic surgeries that can also be traumatic for the internal organs. Liposuction, for instance, can result in visceral perforations or punctures that happen when the surgical device comes into contact with the internal organs. In worse cases, this can also be fatal.



Seroma is similar to a hematoma, only it’s a build-up of lymphatic fluids around the surgical area, resulting in painful swelling. It’s a common complication of a tummy tuck, which can be removed by draining the fluid with a needle.


Pulmonary Embolism

In some cases, injections for butt lifts can go too deep and traumatise the veins. The result could be fat or fillers penetrating the bloodstream—potentially causing a lethal pulmonary embolism (PE).



Although the risk is minimal, death remains possible even in the most minor of surgeries. In most cases, it’s due to complications of anaesthesia, which may also include lung infections, stroke or heart attacks.


In summary, cosmetic surgery complications are rare. A 2018 review of over 26,000 cases revealed that complications occurred in less than 1% of outpatient surgeries. What’s even better is that you can minimise the risk of these unwanted side effects by assessing your doctor, their credentials and preferably the beauty and medical aesthetic equipment they use.

Educating yourself about the procedure, its potential risks as well as discussing your concerns with your doctor will also help in managing your expectations with cosmetic surgery.

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