Plastic Surgery and the Risk of Infection By Stuart Baker on May 14, 2017

A woman in bedThe Center for Cosmetic Medicine believes in achieving optimal results with every surgical procedure. That means proper surgical technique and proper post-op care for our patients. Whenever we discuss a procedure at our Monticello plastic surgery center, we make sure patients understand the recovery process. This can make body contouring surgeries such as tummy tuck go smoothly, with few complications and fast healing.

As with any kind of surgery, infection is a potential risk. Let's consider the risk of infection during surgery and as patients heal, and offer some insight on what patients can expect.

How Likely Is Infection During Plastic Surgery?

Thankfully the risk of infection during the actual surgical procedure is very low. Modern techniques and technology have come a long way over the years, making surgeries much safer than they were in the past. Sterilization is much more thorough, and surgeons know how to prevent potential exposure risks by maintaining clean operating suites and taking a professional approach to surgeries as they are performed.

That said, longer surgeries tend to have a higher risk of infection than shorter surgeries simply given the nature of the procedure. All precautions are taken to limit these risks.

Infection Risk After Surgery

The risk of infection after the surgical procedure itself is also low, though there is a chance a patient may suffer from an infection as they are recovering. Proper recovery from surgery can take a week to two weeks, and during that time it's possible for patients to experience a number of complications under certain circumstances.

Knowing this, it's important that you follow all of your surgeon's instructions when it comes to limiting the risk of adverse side effects and complications.

Issues That Lead to Increased Risk of Infection

When the following issues are present, there is typically a heightened risk of infection for a patient:

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Chewing tobacco
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Steroid use
  • Vascular conditions
  • Immune system problems
  • Obesity and morbid obesity

Warning Signs of Infection

Patients should consider the following symptoms of infection as they recover:

  • Excessive redness
  • Excessive swelling
  • Heat around the incision
  • Pus and poor drainage
  • Pain and discomfort
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Malaise

If you notice any of the above, be sure to contact your surgeon as soon as possible for immediate attention.

Potential Impact on Plastic Surgery Results

An infection can have major negative impacts on the results of plastic surgery. Infections can lead to serious health problems, requiring medical care as well as corrective surgery to address the surgical site. Scarring and poor cosmetic results are common if an infection is not addressed in a timely manner.

This is why we encourage our patients to keep in contact with us as they recover and between follow up visits. Should anything unexpected arise, we can address it as soon as possible.

Tips for Preventing Infection and Other Complications

The best tip we have for preventing infections is to follow you pre-op and post-op instructions to the letter. This will put you in an ideal condition to recover quickly and with as little risk as possible. Attending all follow up visits at the practice is also important, and allows your surgeon to monitor your recovery.

Contact The Center for Cosmetic Medicine

For more information about preventing infections after undergoing surgical procedures, we encourage you to contact our advanced cosmetic plastic surgery center today. During the consultation process at The Center for Cosmetic Medicine, we will cover the pre-op and post-op process carefully so you can heal without experiencing serious complications.

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Dr. Stuart Baker

The Center for Cosmetic Medicine

Dr. Stuart Baker is a board-certified plastic surgeon with decades of experience. He has been recognized as a "master injector" by Allergan, the maker of BOTOX® Cosmetic and JUVÉDERM® products, for excellent patient outcomes. In addition to being a skilled plastic surgeon, he is also an orthopedic hand surgery specialist. His prestigious affiliations include:

  • American Society of Plastic Surgeons — ASPS 
  • American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery — ASAPS 
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery — AACS 
  • American Medical Association — AMA 

Use our online form to schedule a consultation at a location near you in Monticello, Champaign, or Decatur. Or call us at:

(217) 877-9000

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