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14 What's The Worst That Could Happen

Complications — they can happen to anyone who has surgery. Infections, bruising, fluid collections, imperfect results, slow healing, and other irritating complications are just unavoidable in a few patients. Doing surgery isn't like changing the oil in a car. People all heal differently and surgery can be done in many different ways. Slight variations in technique can produce big problems (or more beautiful results) for different people. A doctor who claims that he never has problems with his patients is either inexperienced or a liar.




Dr. Yoho has seen areas of skin death that were this bad. This results in scarring, and is best managed conservatively, without skin grafts. If skin grafts are performed, then more deformity is to be expected [not Dr. Yoho's patient].

Cosmetic surgery is often a tradeoff between good results and potential for problems. Read this last sentence again. It is a key concept. In other words, your chance for the best possible result may be related to how much surgery you have, and with more surgery, there is more chance of a problem. For example, with a face peel, the chance of scarring and the removal of wrinkles is increased with deeper peeling. The doctor has to judge just where to stop. This may be easier with the laser than with the old acid peels or dermabrasion, but variables such as skin thickness and infection may change the result. There's just no way to do any surgery in an exact way to get perfect results every time without any risk of problems. Surgery is not like mathematics wherein the results are always predictable.

Liposuction gives us another example. With liposuction, the chance of unattractive skin changes and even skin death increases with the amount of fat removed. But the doctor must take enough off to create a pleasing figure. It's a tradeoff between risk and benefit. For more information about the risks of liposuction, refer to the Food and Drug Administration's [FDA] website.

What patients should understand when they decide on cosmetic surgery is that they are committing to a relationship and a process. The transaction doesn't end on the day of the surgery. Follow-up is important to insure the best results. For example, anti-inflammatory injections into scars might be needed over a period of a couple of months. Some other patients might require extensive follow-up over a six to eight month period, or need a simple surgical correction.

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