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


As a result of the increasing number of cosmetic surgeries performed, rising cosmetic tourism, and lack of legal restrictions on who may perform these procedures, post-cosmetic surgery patients may present to the ED with a variety of complications. The most common issues include postoperative wound collections and infections, VTE, hemorrhage, and medication toxicity. These complications are associated with severe morbidity if diagnosis is delayed. Other significant complications include syncope, skin necrosis, and intra-abdominal injury. Critical patients should be evaluated in the resuscitation bay, and consultation with the primary surgical team is essential. Understanding these complications and their management is essential to minimizing the morbidity and mortality accompanying these cosmetic surgical procedures.