All surgery involves some risk. Generally speaking, cosmetic procedures are safe and the risk is low if they are performed by a well-trained surgeon. Complications are infrequent and usually minor. They include:
- Hematoma, or a collection of blood under the skin. In some cases, a hematoma must be removed by the surgeon. Some small hematomas can be allowed to resorb naturally or may be drained with a needle and syringe.
- Infection and bleeding. Any surgical procedure carries a slight risk of infection and bleeding.
- Complications of anesthesia. Any procedure using anesthesia carries a slight risk of complications.
- Injury to nerves that control facial muscles. Nerves and muscles are severed during surgical procedures such as a brow lift. In rare cases, nerve injury can cause loss of the ability to raise the eyebrows or wrinkle the forehead. Additional surgery may be necessary to correct the problem.
- Numbness. Injury to nerves may also cause numbness along the line of incision after a face or brow lift. This numbness usually disappears as nerves heal.
- Scarring. Wide scarring may occur along incision lines. Additional surgery may be required to correct the condition. Wide scarring may also occur after deep chemical peels. People who have taken Accutane for acne seem to be particularly prone to scarring.
- Skin discoloration. In some instances, facial resurfacing techniques, especially deep chemical peels, can cause patches of darker or lighter pigmentation in the skin.
- Tiny whiteheads and enlarged pores. These complications of skin resurfacing usually disappear with healing.