Minimizing the Risk of Infection after Plastic Surgery
By Sheryl Pilcher on May 07, 2017
Many people who want to rejuvenate their appearance or improve the proportions of their features turn to facial plastic surgery. When considering plastic surgery, it is important to be aware of potential risks. One risk we will focus on is the risk of infection. Although advances in surgical techniques have greatly reduced the risk of infection after plastic surgery, patients should be informed in order to protect themselves as they recover.
During patient consultations, plastic surgeon Sheryl Pilcher educates patients about plastic surgery and infection. To schedule your personal consultation, contact our San Antonio, TX practice.
Causes of Infection after Plastic Surgery
Anytime there is an opening in the skin, whether from a surgical incision or other injury, there is some risk of infection. The skin acts as a protective barrier and when it is damaged, whether on purpose, as with surgery, or accidentally, bacteria may be allowed to enter the body.
Infection may occur after surgery if bacteria are introduced into the incision in some way. Bacteria may enter the incision after surgery from the air or the hands if they are not cleaned before caring for the incision. In very rare instances, bacteria may enter the incision during surgery as a result of surgical instruments not being properly sterilized or bacteria being left on the skin around the surgical site.
Signs of Infection
It's normal for some pain, swelling, and in some cases, some fluid leakage to occur after surgery. What is not normal is for pain or swelling to become worse or fluid leakage to be yellow or green, as these can be an indication of infection. Other signs of infection include:
- Discharge at incisions site
- A bad smell coming from the incision
Reducing the Risk of Infection after Plastic Surgery
Great care is taken prior to and during surgery to reduce the risk of infection. Surgeons and their team take every precaution possible to ensure a sterile environment when operating. Accordingly, the rare occurrence of infection after surgery is often a result of improper care after treatment. It's important for patients to follow all post-surgical instructions for caring for their incisions to reduce the risk of infection after plastic surgery. Some tips patients may be given include:
- Keep incisions clean and dry
- Get plenty of rest to keep the immune system strong
- Maintain a clean environment, such as keeping your sheets clean
- Go to all follow-up visits
- Contact your doctor at the first signs of a possible infection
- Allow incisions to dry before bandaging
Get Answers to Your Questions
Fortunately, the risk of infection after plastic surgery is very low. Regardless, it is best for patients to be fully aware of the potential for infection, as well as ways to reduce the risk of infection. For answers to your questions about plastic surgery and infection, or to discuss any other concerns about plastic surgery, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Pilcher.
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“If you need breast augmentation or any cosmetic surgery, I would highly recommend Dr. Pilcher....This has been the best decision I have made.” Quintessa M.