Which Cosmetic Procedures Carry the Higher Risk, and Why?

Cosmetic surgery is widely applied on the face or different parts of the body, and it oftentimes sounds like a very straightforward procedure with a life-changing effect. However, always remember that no cosmetic surgery is risk-free, even if it is minimally invasive. Any surgery may pose considerable risks or complications resulting from various reasons, such as allergic reactions, malpractice, incorrect applications, and more. Risks and limitations must be openly discussed, yet in most cases, they are underestimated or ignored. Surely, when the risks are observed, they affect individuals negatively.

Therefore, think twice before undergoing the knife, and do your research well! Also, note that each patient has unique characteristics and anatomy. The same invasive surgical procedure may impose different risks on different patients, even when performed by the same highly competent and trained surgeon. Although the risks cannot be entirely avoided, but can certainly be minimized.

By getting the correct information about the pitfalls of the surgery from trustworthy resources, as a patient, you can make the best decision for yourself. In this article, we’ve outlined 5 riskiest cosmetic procedures and their potential dangers. Scroll through to find out more about them.

5 riskiest cosmetic procedures and their potential dangers

1. Brazilian But Lifts (BBL)

How fantastic it is to hear that you can get rid of the unwanted excess fat accumulation deposited around your waist, belly, abdomen, or leg areas, and have a more rounder, lifted, and firmer buttocks in just 2 hours, right? The reality is the general procedure of a Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) is one of the riskiest and deadliest surgeries in the world.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons defined BBL as one of the deadliest cosmetic surgeries, causing 1 death in an alarming number of 3,000 patients due to pulmonary fat embolism. BBL is a surgical procedure consisting of removing excess fat from the body’s various parts and injecting it into the buttocks/hips to change their shape and overall appearance, making them look round, lifted, and fuller.

However, when BBL is done incorrectly or if your surgeon is inexperienced, fat or fillers can escape into certain blood vessels, which have a direct route to the heart and lungs, resulting in a fatal pulmonary embolism.

If the specific body parts lack enough fat tissue, silicone hip prostheses can also be used as an alternative. Again, augmenting hips with synthetic, permanent fillers carries a significant risk due to escaping into the vein and embolism, displacement of fillings, infection, non-healing wounds, and non-healing discharges in the long term. BBL is carried out in 2 different techniques:

  • Fat transfer (removal) technique through liposuction only if the patient has enough fat tissue. The excess fat tissues are generally removed from the belly and waist areas by vaser or laser liposuction technique and then injected into the buttocks. This procedure is tempting because the patient will have a more upright and rounded hip/buttock, and unwanted fat will be eliminated from the body.
  • Silicone prostheses or filling technique if there’s not enough fat tissue (adipose). It’s indispensable for the surgeon to evaluate the person’s demands and the current anatomical structure together.

2. Tummy Tucks (Abdominoplasty)

A tummy tuck operation, or abdominoplasty, is performed if the patients cannot get rid of stubborn fat tissues and sagging skin, regardless of how much they did their best with different diets and exercises. During this surgery, excess skin and fatty tissue are removed, and abdominal connective tissue is tightened with stitches, yielding a more tight and flat stomach. These operations are generally preferred by those with excessive fat in the belly area, saggy abdominal skin, and weak abdominal walls.

Remember that constant weight gain and loss, post-pregnancy, and age-related deformations lead to excessive fat deposit and the loss of elasticity around the abdominal region. Note that a tummy tuck is only possible when the patient has a healthy body index and the ideal weight. It isn’t a substitute for losing weight. Patients need to postpone this kind of surgery because the vertical muscles will be stretched during abdominoplasty, and these muscles may separate during pregnancy.

At the same time, a tummy tuck surgery isn’t good for people with severe chronic diseases such as heart disease, or diabetes, those who underwent abdominal surgeries before, and those with a history of medical problems to reconsider before undergoing this surgery. Although it sounds like an easy surgery, the tummy tucks procedure involves a substantial risk with severe complications that many people are unaware of, including an excessive build-up of fluid (seroma), poor wound healing, numbness, scarring, bleeding, and tissue necrosis.

3. Liposuction

Liposuction, or lipo, lipoplasty, or body contouring, is a popular cosmetic surgery that removes specific localized extra fat deposits from chosen areas of the body, such as the highs, hips, buttocks, abdomen, arms, neck, or back, thereby, reshaping the contours and proportions of the body. Although it sounds like a rapid weight loss solution; however, Liposuction involves substantial risk and complications due to the possibility of blood clots, fat clogs in the lungs, perforation of the stomach wall, and systemic infections.

Before going “under the knife,” patients must first try other methods to get rid of their excess fat deposits, like diet and exercise. And most importantly, surgeons must treat Liposuction as an intensive medical procedure, unlike a “weight loss” treatment. Although the liposuction procedure is performed under anesthesia, you’ll feel pain afterward. Also, the recovery can be painful, involving swelling, bruising, soreness, and numbness.

Just like any other surgery, Liposuction, too, carries risks such as bleeding and anesthesia reactions. Possible risks of Liposuction include complications with anesthesia, puncture wounds or injuries to other organs, nerve damage, shock, death, blood or fat clots, heart and kidney problems, and more. Note that only some people are good candidates for liposuction cosmetic procedures, and it’s not an alternative to quick weight loss.

4. Facial reconstruction

Facial reconstructive surgeries are broad and complex surgeries performed on the face, combining interventions to repair traces of trauma, injury, cancer, burns, facial tissue loss, etc., using various processes that require precise delicacy. Although some surgeries are more complex than others, some of them are done for aesthetic reasons.

Facial reconstructive surgery includes many types, like skull base reconstruction, nose reconstruction, rhinoplasty, facial trauma reconstructive procedures, etc. However, one of the most dangerous surgeries is orthognathic surgery. It consists of critical work with blood vessels in reshaping and structuring the jaw.

Although dermal fillers or liquid silicone facial injections sound like relatively simple procedures compared to orthognathic surgery, even those fillers can pose their risks.

When misapplied, swelling and bad reactions from the immune system can occur. Therefore, any cosmetic surgery must be performed by board-certified professionals with proper training and qualifications.

5. Body lifts

Body lift (Post Bariatric Surgery) is an intensive but one of the riskiest cosmetic surgeries performed under anesthesia to improve the appearance of loose skin and skin in various body parts. It involves up to 5 procedures and can take for about 8 hours. It’s focused on removing the excess skin and soft tissue around some body parts, like the abdomen, buttocks, lower back, thighs, and breasts.

It may require lifting the entire abdominal skin, repositioning the belly button, and tightening the abdominal muscles, the belly, buttocks, thighs, or genitals to improve the body’s overall shape. A body lift may be preferred by people who have loose, inelastic skin over most of their bodies due to birth, aging, or excessive weight loss.

Before undergoing body lift surgery, do your research well, and find highly reputable, trained, experienced and board-certified surgery. Also, never shy away form asking your questions openly. Discuss the operation and post-operation as well as the recovery process, too.

How Can I Minimize the Risks?

As previously stated, no matter how many people go “under the knife” to enhance their appearance, lose weight, or simply think it is the right decision for them to have a better self-image, always keep in mind that surgeries aren’t without risk, even the minimally-invasive surgeries or procedures come with their own risks.

Although it’s not entirely possible to eliminate all of the risks that may result from cosmetic procedures outlined above, there are many ways to minimize its effects, such as seeking a reputable, qualified, and board-certified surgeon in the first place. We’ve listed some tips to help minimize the risks before undergoing any kind of surgery.

  • Have a consultation with the doctor or surgeon in question, and dare to ask the questions you have in mind.
  • Ask for advice and recommendations from people you know who have undergone a similar procedure. If you are lucky enough, find patients who have had experience with the same doctor in the same operating facility.
  • Check the surgeon’s qualifications.
  • All the surgeons must be board-certified, highly experienced, and have patient education.
  • Dare to ask the surgeons where they’re licensed.
  • Get ready for the costs and expenses. Cosmetic surgery is expensive.
  • Ask your doctor how many procedures they’ve performed until that day or throughout their careers.
  • Discuss the type of complications you may face after/during the surgery.
  • Research carefully, and read the reviews, customer testimonials, etc.

If your procedure is a non-surgical procedure, in addition to the questions listed above, you can ask if it’s performed by a plastic surgeon, dermatologist, or certified medical aesthetician.


The content on our page is only for informational purposes. Please consult your doctor for any diagnosis and treatments. We do not have any partnerships with the clinics, hospitals and doctors. We do not make operations, treatments, etc. We are not responsible for any unexpected situations you may have as all are health issues.

Plus, the information provided on our medical pages is not a guide to action and should not be construed as medical advice or treatment recommendation and doesn't substitute the visit to a doctor.

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