The risk of infection following cosmetic surgery is relatively low, occurring after only about one percent of all surgeries. However, it is important to take every preventive measure since an infection can have serious consequences. The first step in preventing infection is choosing a highly trained cosmetic surgeon practicing in a sterile, accredited facility. In order to ensure your safety, he or she will thoroughly assess your health prior to recommending a procedure. To expedite your recovery and achieve infection control at home, you should follow your surgeon's instructions and schedule an immediate visit if you notice infection symptoms.
There are certain factors that can increase your risk of infection and related complications after surgery:
Diabetic patients have an increased risk of infection following surgery. Controlling your blood glucose levels can foster successful outcomes.
Smoking compromises the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream, increasing your risk of poor wound healing and other life-threatening consequences, including blood clots and pneumonia. Smoking also increases your risk of infection by 61 percent.
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can compromise your immune system. Reconstructive surgery must wait until these treatments are complete and your surgeon determines it is safe.
A study by Vanderbilt University found that patients with a high body mass index (BMI) had a significantly increased risk of major infection compared to patients at a healthy weight.
Heavy drinkers are 73 percent more likely to contract an infection after surgery. Be frank and honest with your doctor when discussing your alcohol consumption.
Infection is usually accompanied by symptoms such as:
You should contact your surgeon immediately if you notice any signs of infection because the condition can rapidly progress without treatment.
Certain medications such as anticoagulants can result in excessive bleeding at your incision sites. Review your medications with your doctor to ensure that they are safe to take during your recovery.
You can minimize your risk of infection after surgery by following your doctor's instructions and knowing the signs of complications. Schedule a consultation with your doctor if you notice any abnormal symptoms during recovery.