Plastic Surgery Complications: A Review for Emergency Clinicians

Tim Montrief, MD; Kasha Bornstein, MSc; Mark Ramzy, DO, EMT-P; Alex Koyfman, MD; Brit J. Long, MD


Western J Emerg Med. 2020;21(6):179-189. 

In This Article


This review focuses on the complications of the most common surgical procedures including liposuction, breast augmentation, abdominoplasty, and subcutaneous injections. We describe the expected presentations, evaluation, and emergent care required to manage post-cosmetic surgery complications. We performed a literature search of Medline, PubMed, and Google Scholar for "plastic surgery," "complication," "liposuction," "mammoplasty," "abdominoplasty," "surgical site infection," "dehiscence," "fat embolism," "perforation," "local anesthetic systemic toxicity." The database search was conducted from inception of each database to April 1, 2020. We evaluated case reports and series, retrospective and prospective studies, systematic reviews and meta-analyses, and other narrative reviews. We also reviewed guidelines and supporting citations of included articles. The literature search was restricted to studies published in English, with focus on emergency medicine (EM) and critical care literature.