Do People Understand the Risks of Plastic Surgery?
By Space Coast Daily // February 13, 2020
Recently Florida has seen its share of tragic stories involving deaths from plastic surgery. Medical practice lawyers in Florida deal with these cases, but it’s important for people to really understand the risks of plastic surgery before they dive in.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, in 2014 Americans spent more than 12 billion dollars on cosmetic procedures, including surgical and nonsurgical procedures.
Preventable medical errors lead to the deaths of 400,000 people each year and are the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. many of these errors stem not just from needed operations but also elective procedures.
So what else should you know about plastic surgery, the risks, and recent cases highlighting the dangers in Florida?
Felon-Operated Plastic Surgery Center
Florida is one of the nation’s top destinations for plastic surgery, but there was a set of felons who started their own plastic surgery clinics in the state.
As a result, at least 13 women died following their surgeries, and around a dozen others were hospitalized with critical injuries.
The state health department received information about the casualties and the associated clinics were cited for things like dirty operating rooms.
Legislators tried and failed to change state laws that would increase the regulation of plastic surgery businesses.
Many people go to Florida because there are lax regulations guiding plastic surgery practices, and these companies promise inexpensive procedures.
In Florida, there were laws passed many years ago that allow the state to discipline doctors who own clinics and practice there, but there’s a loophole that some are exploiting. People who aren’t doctors are opening up and investing in clinics that don’t meet state laws.
Some of these clinics in question have doctors who are paid on commission, so there’s a massive shuffle in and out to get as many patients in the door and the operating room as possible.
What Are the Risks of Plastic Surgery?
While the above highlights the risks of some of the clinics in Florida, even a reputable clinic and doctor can lead to risks when it comes to plastic surgery.
Some of the most common risks and complications of plastic surgery include:
• Hematomas: This is a pocket of blood that can form and looks like a large bruise. It can occur following breast augmentations and also facelifts. It’s a risk in any surgery, and sometimes if you develop a hematoma following surgery, you may need another operation to drain the blood.
• Seroma: This condition occurs when sterile body fluid builds up under the skin and leads to pain and swelling. It occurs in anywhere from 15 to 30% of tummy tuck patients.
• Blood loss: During any surgery, there’s going to be blood loss but sometimes it can unexpectedly severe and can lead to a serious drop in blood pressure. Blood loss can also happen after surgery is finished.
• Infection: Infection occurs in as much as 2.5% of people who have breast augmentation, and infection is one of the most common plastic surgery complications. Infections can be severe and a person may ultimately need intravenous antibiotics.
• Organ damage: Organ damage can occur when there is a puncture from a surgical instrument, and liposuction tends to be the type of plastic surgery most frequently linked to organ damage.
• Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism: Deep vein thrombosis occurs when blood clots form in the deep veins. Typically these clots form in the legs, and they can break off and travel to the lungs, in which case the condition is known as a pulmonary embolism. The risk of developing a clot goes up significantly for people having multiple procedures at one time.
When you hear about deaths from plastic surgery, they’re very often linked to anesthesia complications.
When you receive intravenous sedation, medicine goes directly into your vein, if it’s monitored anesthesia. IV sedation is used for some plastic surgery procedures as well as medical procedures like colonoscopy.
General anesthesia is given through a mask on the face or intravenously, and it causes full loss of consciousness. Breathing is controlled with a tube in the windpipe and this type of anesthesia is for major surgery.
Heavy sedation can suppress the ability to breathe and it requires monitoring of breathing and oxygen saturation.
Before you receive intravenous sedation, you should be honest with your doctor about medical conditions, allergies, and any previous procedures you’ve had.
Anesthesia complications can include stroke, heart attack, or death. There are also milder complications like nausea and vomiting.
How Common Are Plastic Surgery Complications?
None of this is to say that plastic surgery complications are common—in fact, they occur in fewer than one percent of outpatient surgeries.
However, in Florida, as lawmakers work to crack down on some clinics that may be dangerous or even deadly, it’s a topic worth paying attention to.
Plastic surgery complications are more common in people who are older, overweight, or obese or who smoke.
For someone who wants to get plastic surgery, it’s essential to investigate not only the doctor but the clinic where the surgery will happen. You can go over any risks or potential complications that can occur.
As many plastic surgery businesses aggressively market their services, it’s important to look beyond those advertisements. Cheaper is not necessarily a good thing when it comes to plastic surgery, either.
Do your research on the people who run the clinic that you’re considering getting surgery at and check out your doctor. Is the doctor board-certified? You don’t have to be board certified to do some cosmetic procedures, but this significantly ups the risk. Has your doctor ever faced any legal issues?
Too often, people get excited about the prospect of plastic surgery and the change they hope it will bring to their life so they don’t do the research they would do for any other type of plastic surgery and as the clinics in Florida highlight, that can be a deadly mistake.
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