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Complication Rates in Cosmetic Surgery


Cosmetic surgery, like all surgeries, has the risk of after surgery complications. But cosmetic surgery us unique is that it has two distinct types of complications…medical and  cosmetic. Medical complications are events like infection or DVT. Cosmetic complications are an undesired or unexpected appearance like an implant being too big or an out contour that is irregular or asymmetric What the exact type and risks of complications are varies for each type of cosmetic surgery.

CosmetAssure insurance for plastic surgery Dr Barry Eppley IndianapolisCosmetAssure is an insurance company that offers patients some financial protection against medical complications from approximately twenty of the most common cosmetic surgery procedures. Since this company provides such coverage they are in a position to have a unique insight into the rate of these complications. They have accumulated a large database from which the data has been statistically analyzed over a five year period. The data has shown the following top ten statistics.

The major or medical complication rates for cosmetic surgery is around 2%. Liposucton, which is often perceived by the public has having a relatively high risk, shows a major complication rate of less than 1%. That risk does increase considerably up to 4% when combined with a tummy tuck and at 12% when combined with multiple other body contouring procedures.

Medical complications rates in tummy tuck surgery were 3% and increased as high as 10% when combined with other body contouring procedures such as liposuction. Combining liposuction with a tummy tuck doubles the risk of a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) from 0.5% to 1%.

In breast surgery, placing breast implants had complication rates of 1.5% which was similar to that of a breast lift. However, when both implants and a lift are done are done at the same time, the complication rates increases to 2%.

While major complications in facelifts are rare, patients that were overweight (BMI greater than 25) have a higher rate of infection. (3%). Men are more prone to hematomas after a facelift than women at a rare of 4%.

There was no statistical difference between older vs. younger patients in complication rates from cosmetic surgery, supporting what has been believed for a long time. However, when looked at on the other end of the age spectrum, cosmetic surgery in teenagers (0.5%) was much lower than in in adults. (1.5%) This undoubtably is due to the more limited types of cosmetic procedure performed in young patients.

Sex did not make a difference in major complication rates with men and women being fairly equal at just over 2%. However, regardless of gender, being overweight increases the complication rates for both men and women.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

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Dr. Barry EppleyDr. Barry Eppley

Dr. Barry Eppley is an extensively trained plastic and cosmetic surgeon with more than 20 years of surgical experience. He is both a licensed physician and dentist as well as double board-certified in both Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. This training allows him to perform the most complex surgical procedures from cosmetic changes to the face and body to craniofacial surgery. Dr. Eppley has made extensive contributions to plastic surgery starting with the development of several advanced surgical techniques. He is a revered author, lecturer and educator in the field of plastic and cosmetic surgery.

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