Complications and risks in aesthetic surgery

We understand that making changes to your appearance or body is a significant decision that should not be taken lightly: it’s a deliberate decision. It’s important to acknowledge that all surgical procedures carry certain risks and the possibility of complications. However, most complications are typically minor and can be easily treated. At MOOI Clinic, we prioritize your safety and we are dedicated to providing you with comprehensive and detailed information about the potential risks associated with any procedure or treatment.

No guarantee can be given in advance about the result to be achieved. Even with a carefully performed surgery, you may not be satisfied with the results. It is important to weigh this fact in your decision of whether or not to undergo a surgery.

Are you considering breast augmentation with breast implants? Then read this article specifically about the risks of breast implants.

Risks and complications before or during surgery

Local or full anesthesia

Surgery is often done under local or general anesthesia so you won’t notice or feel anything from the operation. With all forms of anesthesia, there is a risk of side effects and complications such as injury, nerve damage, allergic reaction and, in extremely rare cases, even death.

Damage to other parts of your body/or loss of function

There is a very small chance that other parts of your body will be damaged during surgery. For example, nerves, blood vessels, muscles or lungs. The damage may be temporary or permanent. There is an even smaller chance that more will be damaged in the body by a surgery, especially if multiple or extensive procedures are done at the same time.

Allergic reactions

Very rarely people get an allergic reaction to treatment. For example, if disinfectants, tape, sutures, plasters, skin glue or blood products are used. Always tell the plastic surgeon if you know you have an allergy. This topic comes up during our intake and safety checks.


It is unusual but during surgery, (severe) bleeding can occur.

Risks and complications after surgery

There are risks associated with any surgical procedure. Before deciding whether to undergo a procedure or treatment, it is important to be well informed about the risks involved. After all, the choice is yours to undergo surgery or treatment.


In most people, the body is not exactly symmetrical beforehand. Nor will it be after an aesthetic procedure or treatment. Asymmetry can always occur after an aesthetic procedure or treatment. Swelling can also cause asymmetry.


Depending on the procedure, you may have pain after the procedure or treatment. Most pain is well managed with prescribed pain medication. If this is not the case, you should contact the MOOI Clinic immediately.


With any surgical procedure, there is a chance of post-bleeding. Should post-bleeding occur, it may be necessary (depending on the type of treatment/procedure) to operate on you again, to remove the blood clots and stop the bleeding. If there is a lot of blood loss, it is sometimes necessary to give an individual a blood transfusion to replenish the lost blood. Use of blood thinners like ascal/aspirin, sintrommitis, marcoumar or painkillers like ibuprofen and diclofenac should be reported to the plastic surgeon during the outpatient visit. High blood pressure that is not well controlled with medication can also cause excessive bleeding during or after surgery. A less severe form is getting a bruise. It sometimes leads to discoloration of the skin and is usually temporary in nature.


There may be bruising and swelling after surgery. The skin may also become locally discolored or thicker. In most cases, this is not permanent.


Swelling after an aesthetic procedure or treatment is usually normal. This may take several weeks to resolve depending on the procedure.


All surgical wounds leave scars. The quality of these scars can vary regardless depending on how the wounds are sutured. It is impossible to predict what these scars will eventually look like, despite careful technique. Scars that have been healing for over 18 months, may show redness, lumps and irregularities. Scarring can adversely affect the cosmetic result. In some cases, another operation is needed, or other treatments are used, like silicone patches or  injections of anti-inflammatory drugs (corticosteroids).

Opening of a wound

A wound can always open. It usually closes up spontaneously. Sometimes it is necessary to re-stitch.


As with any wound that develops, there is a chance of infection. The chances of this happening are usually small. Should an infection occur, treatment may include giving antibiotics or opening the wound. Pain, fever or feeling sick may indicate a (deep) wound infection.

Feeling changes

Certain parts of the body may be less sensitive or more sensitive, such as spots on the skin or nipples. This usually resolves within a few weeks to months, but it can also be permanent. With scarring, there may be numb areas, that can be temporary or even permanent in nature.

Additional warnings

Dissatisfied with result

There is no guarantee of (lasting) good results. There is always a chance that the results of the procedure or treatment may be disappointing. In some cases, optimal results cannot be obtained with a single surgical procedure. Additional surgery may be necessary to improve outcomes. This may involve additional costs for you.

Psychological disorders

It is important that all patients undergoing non-emergency medical procedures have realistic expectations focused on improvement rather than perfection. Complications or less attractive results are sometimes unavoidable, sometimes require additional surgery and are often perceived as stressful. Therefore, we ask that you openly discuss any emotional or psychological disorders with the attending physician before surgery. Although many people benefit psychologically from the results of cosmetic surgery, the effects on your mental health cannot be accurately predicted.


It is important to inform the plastic surgeon about the use of medications, especially blood thinners.


People with diabetes are more likely to have wound healing problems or infections. Having and keeping glucose levels well controlled before and after surgery is important to minimize the risk of complications.

Smoking and second-hand smoke

If you smoke, you have a greater risk of complications. Therefore, we recommend that you stop smoking at least 6 weeks before your procedure as well as not smoking afterwards. Patients who smoke or use tobacco products or nicotine products (such as nicotine patches and gum) at the time of surgery have a greater risk of complications such as skin breakdown and poorer wound healing. People exposed to second-hand smoke may also be at increased risk for similar complications. Furthermore, smoking can negatively affect anesthesia and its recovery, resulting in coughing and possibly increased bleeding risk. People without exposure to tobacco smoke or nicotine-containing products have a significantly lower risk of such complications.

During the consultation, we always properly educate you about the possible risks. For further information on risks and complications, please also refer to the NVPC information leaflets, also the source of this article.