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Pros and Cons of Plastic Surgery

The Blog
Dr. Jude LaBarbera, MD Plastic Surgeon

Pros and Cons of Plastic Surgery

If you are considering plastic surgery in order to address aesthetic issues or functional concerns, it is important to explore both its risks and rewards. Looking at both the good and bad sides of plastic surgery can help improve your perspective so you can make better-informed decisions regarding whether or not to undergo certain procedures. This article highlights some of the generalized pros and cons of plastic surgery treatments.

Rewards of plastic surgery


Aesthetic concerns such as stubborn pockets of fat, hanging folds of skin, and facial imperfections may result in self-consciousness and low self-esteem issues. Teens may be mocked for misshapen ears and women who have less feminine features may feel at a disadvantage during social interactions. With time, these feelings could profoundly dent your confidence levels and sometimes even cause social anxiety. Plastic surgery procedures can help alleviate aesthetic concerns to reveal new, flattering features. Studies have demonstrated that physical attractiveness often goes hand in hand with career success. Many patients who receive cosmetic surgery feel a renewed sense of confidence and improved quality of life.


Plastic surgery procedures can enhance health and quality of life. Medically necessary procedures restore function and help patients address impairments. For instance, eyelid surgery can clear the line of vision to enable patients to see properly (in addition to enhancing facial appearance). Breast reconstruction procedures enable women who have faced the scourge of cancer to feel whole again. Tummy tuck surgery can help alleviate diastasis recti (separation of abdominal muscles) and ventral hernia. For patients who are obese, bariatric surgery can offer life-changing benefits and turn their health around. The list goes on and on.

Risks of plastic surgery


Despite its many advantages, plastic surgery has its fair share of social and psychological risks. It is not uncommon for patients who have undergone a cosmetic procedure to become the subject of gossip within their close social circle. You may personally feel dissatisfied with your new look and your partner may have a certain opinion about the changes you have made. These and other factors can negatively influence your psychological health and leave you feeling awful. Plastic surgeons recommend that you have someone to talk about your feelings and reach out for professional help if need be.


Like any other surgical procedure, plastic surgery comes with intrinsic health risks. People are often worried about visible scarring and disfigurement. Some of the most common surgical risks and complications of plastic surgery include the following:

  • Infection – your treatment area may become infected.
  • Excessive bleeding – uncontrolled bleeding during or after surgery may lead to hemorrhage and put your life at risk.
  • Blood clots – blood clots during recovery could put your overall health at risk.
  • Tissue death – in some cases, patients could suffer from tissue death at the treatment areas.
  • Delayed healing – we all heal at different rates depending on our overall health and our body’s unique capabilities. It is not common for some patients to take longer than necessary to fully recover from their treatment.
  • Anesthesia risks – anesthesia used during plastic surgery may result in unwanted side effects such as shock, allergic reactions, respiratory failure, cardiac arrest, coma, and even death.
  • Loss of sensation – depending on the type of procedures, some patients may experience changes in sensation.
  • Need for revision surgery – you may be dissatisfied with the outcome of your initial surgery, necessitating a revision procedure.

Risks vs rewards

If you are planning to move forward with plastic surgery, it is important you weigh the risks and rewards. Start by selecting a seasoned plastic surgeon and scheduling an initial consultation visit. During this one-on-one meeting, you will be able to ask questions and learn as much as possible about the aesthetic treatment you are interested in. Keep in mind that not every plastic surgery is a fit for you. You need to select a procedure that will yield the best possible benefits while minimizing the risk of complications.