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Warning Signs to Look Out for After Plastic Surgery

By Brian Kobienia, MD, FACS on May 31, 2018


Marking up someone's stomach for plastic surgeryAfter undergoing plastic surgery, it’s important that patients follow their post-op instructions closely. This helps prevent complications and adverse side effects after a surgical procedure. As helpful as these instructions are, it also helps that patients know what warning signs to look out for after surgery so they can contact their surgeon right away in case of an emergency.

The team at our Minneapolis, MN plastic surgery center would like to go over some common warning signs of infection and surgical complications. These may occur after a body contouring or facial rejuvenation procedure. If you notice any of these issues below, be sure to contact the practice right away so the matter can be addressed in a timely fashion.

Pain Does Not Improve

Most patients will notice post-operative pain decrease in the days after their procedure. If you notice your pain and discomfort get worse after surgery despite the use of pain medication, this is a sure sign of infection or another serious problem.

Severe Swelling

Swelling is a common side effect and tends to last for about two weeks, with gradual improvements from day to day. If the incision areas become extremely swollen, it’s important to contact your surgeon right away. This excessive swelling requires immediate medical attention.

Bruising Spreads or Deepens

Bruising around the incision areas is to be expected after surgery, with normal color returning to these areas after about two weeks. If bruising or discoloration spreads, that could be an indication of infection, damaged blood vessels, and other major medial problems.

Fever and Heat

Sometimes patients feel warm after their surgery is performed. If the patient runs a fever or notices that the area around the incisions is excessively warm or hot, this is often the sign of an infection. Seek help from your surgeon as soon as possible.

Excessive Bleeding

A little bit of bleeding after plastic surgery is common. Any excessive bleeding or bleeding that does not stop is abnormal, however, and a cause for concern. This could be the sign of a broken suture or other kinds of tissue damage in need of professional attention.

Peculiar Discharge from Incision Sites

Drainage tubes can help patients filter out some of the bodily fluids that accumulate after surgery. Clear or slightly pink fluid is normal, and their presence is reduced in the days following surgery as you heal. If incision sites begin to pus or the fluid drained looks strange, that could be the sign of infection or a medical problem.

Weird Smells

Related to fluid drainage and discharge, it’s important to note any weird smells. If the fluid around the surgical area smells bad or you notice a weird odor around the operated area, this may be the sign of an infection. See help as soon as possible.

General Fatigue

Some grogginess and weakness are to be expected in the first day or so after surgery. It’s the result of anesthesia as well as your body adjusting to the surgery that was performed. If the fatigue persists for days and is accompanied by any of the other above warning signs, be sure to get in touch with your surgeon.

Learn More About Plastic Surgery

To learn more about post-surgical complications and what we can do to help address them, be sure to contact the team at Kobienia Plastic Surgery. We will work with you after surgery to ensure problem-free healing and recovery.

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