Reducing the Risk of Infection after Plastic Surgery
Body contouring procedures can help enhance definition and streamline the appearance, making them popular for those who wish to eliminate stubborn pockets of body fat. Before undergoing body contouring or any other plastic surgery procedure, it is important to understand the potential risks and side effects.
Infection, although a minor risk, is one that can lead to serious complications if ignored. Let's explore what to look for and how to reduce the risk of infection after plastic surgery. For more information about infection after plastic surgery, contact Milwaukee, WI plastic surgeon Dr. Tracy E. McCall.
What May Cause Infection after Plastic Surgery?
Advances in surgical techniques and a greater understanding of the causes of infection have greatly reduced the risk of infection after plastic surgery. Even with the utmost care during surgery, infection may occur as a result of aftercare. Accordingly, it is important for patients to understand the possible causes of infection so that they may protect themselves and enjoy a speedy recovery.
An infection may occur anytime there is a wound or opening in the skin. This is because the skin acts as a barrier, keeping bacteria out of the body. When the skin is damaged, bacteria may be allowed to enter, potentially causing an infection to occur. Some possible ways in which bacteria may be introduced into an incision after plastic surgery include:
- Bacteria may enter from the air
- Hands that are not cleaned before dressing an incision may bring bacteria into contact with incisions
- Incisions are not properly cleaned
- Incisions are not allowed to dry and are kept moist (moisture makes a good breeding ground for bacteria)
- In rare circumstances, bacteria may be introduced during surgery due to lack of proper sterilization or not cleaning the skin around the area being treated
Signs and Symptoms of Infection
While it's normal to have some pain and swelling after surgery, pain and swelling that becomes worse may be a sign of infection, especially when pain and swelling is accompanied by redness, the area is warm to the touch, or there is a green or yellow fluid leaking from the incision. When this or any of the following signs and symptoms are observed after plastic surgery, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible to avoid the spread of infection or other complications.
- The skin feels warm or hot to the touch
- A yellow or green fluid discharging from the incision site
- A bad smell coming from the incision site
How Can the Risk of Infection Be Minimized?
Reputable surgeons and their teams take great care and precautions to keep a sterile environment while operating. In many cases, infection after plastic surgery is a result of issues with patient aftercare. As such, it is important for patients to properly care for their incisions in order to prevent infection after plastic surgery. Some ways patients can reduce the risk of infection after plastic surgery include:
- Follow all post-operative instructions
- Go to all follow-up visits
- Keep incisions clean and dry
- Change bandages or other dressings as often as recommended by your surgeon
- Let the incision air dry before bandaging or covering
- Keep the immune system strong by getting plenty of rest
- Contact your doctor at the first signs or symptoms of infection
Contact Dr. McCall
For answers to your questions about plastic surgery, or to find out which procedures are right for your needs, please schedule a consultation with Dr. McCall.