Can people with heart problems have plastic surgery? Understanding – 06/19/2022

The search for perfection, the achievement of the “ideal physical form” and a more youthful appearance are pushing more and more people to resort to cosmetic and plastic surgery. We are among the countries with the highest number of such procedures in the world – among the most common are liposuction, abdominoplasty, facial and breast surgeries (enlargement or reduction). Data from the Brazilian Society of Plastic Surgery indicates that there are more than 1.5 million procedures every year.

But how much is it worth it? In addition to exerting an influence on self-esteem, it is possible that these procedures also carry health risks. In many situations, lack of care and overdoing it are triggers for serious complications.

I believe that everyone has heard of, for example, a case of death or serious problem due to liposuction. History of cardiac arrest and adverse reactions to anesthetics. And why do they occur?

We cannot exclude the risks

First of all, we must remember that plastic surgery, like any other surgery, has risks and possible side effects. Although in the vast majority of cases it is a question of aesthetics, they will in some way – or in several ways – mess up the functioning of the body, regardless of the specialty in which the intervention is carried out.

Progress has taken place, it is a fact, making the procedures increasingly safer, but even so, we are talking about surgery and, therefore, the need for special care and attention.

Main complications

In the case of liposuction, some of the risks involve fat embolism (occlusion of small vessels by droplets of fat), seroma (excess fluid retained near the scar, causing inflammation) and bruising – consequences that can also manifest in other procedures currently offered. .

The list of common complications also includes: breathing problems, implant rejection, sensory and skin disturbances, tissue necrosis, asymmetry, bleeding, pain and allergic reactions, in addition to infections – the chance of an infection occurring is usually low. less than 1%, but it exists and cannot be ignored.

In the postoperative period of major surgery, such as abdominoplasty or mammoplasty, there is always a risk of thrombosis, i.e. the formation of clots, usually in the veins of the legs, and the risk of pulmonary embolism.

Indeed, if the clot migrates to the lung and causes a blockage of blood circulation, it can lead to a decompensation of the functioning of the heart, with a decrease in the volume of blood to the body and even the risk of death.

We can list here some factors that increase the risks of this type of complication: obesityhistory of lower limb thrombosis and varicose veins, serious or uncontrolled chronic conditions (such as high blood pressure or diabetes), smokingage over 40, prolonged use of birth control pills, drug use, certain medications, many associated surgeries, and even the time to completion — very long operations tend to exponentially increase the risks.

But after all, can a patient with heart problems undergo plastic surgery or not?

The answer is complex and of great responsibility, which should not be reduced to a simple yes or no. Generally speaking, the heart is an organ with a low probability of being affected by plastic surgery, provided it is well assessed preoperatively. As we have seen, there are a number of issues to consider.

The cardiovascular systems of people undergoing general anesthesia and surgical procedures are subject to multiple stresses and complications. The heart, as a vital pump, is necessary in such a scenario. It must therefore be in good health to cope with a possible overload, even minimal.


Thus, before any type of intervention, it is essential that doctors and patients have a clear understanding of any conditions present that could be the trigger for the onset of a cardiovascular complication, such as a arrhythmia (abnormal, irregular, very fast or slow beats).

The cardiological problems added to the metabolic and circulatory stress that any surgery causes can be life-threatening. Blood loss, release of substances into the circulation, hypothermia, myocardial ischemia, and the effects of drugs or drugs administered following the procedure are possible.

Untreated or unstable heart disease, for example, under the effects of anesthesia can trigger arrhythmia and even cause a heart attack – most anesthetics are respiratory and cardiac depressants, meaning they affect the normal rhythm of the heart.

This is even in healthy individuals. In those with a pre-existing heart condition, these possible anesthetic effects become much more concerning, as patients may not tolerate large fluctuations in rate and pressure.

Another situation: a person suffering from arterial hypertension can undergo an abdominoplasty – or any other intervention, as long as his pressure is controlled. Hypertension is a chronic disease caused by high levels of blood pressure in the arteries, which causes the heart to work harder than normal to pump blood through the vessels. Thus, plastic surgery on a person with uncontrolled pressure can be extremely dangerous.

Before any operation…

You should be aware of the extra precautions that need to be taken. And the patient is not always aware of this when deciding on cosmetic surgery. Some only discover problems when the surgeon requests a cardiological evaluation before the desired procedure.

Today, these interventions offer a high degree of safety. Even so, again, we are talking about surgery, and as such it requires attention in pre, intra and postoperative care. In other words, patients must be evaluated according to the same rigorous standards adopted for other surgical procedures.

Therefore, the more complete the check-up, the greater the security. This is where you get an idea of ​​the conditions of the heart to reduce complications during the operation, such as high blood pressure, heart failurearrhythmia or the presence of diabetes, dyslipidemia (high cholesterol), obesity, among others.

Unlike other emergency surgeries, plastic surgery can usually be planned, planned and even reviewed – and here it is worth digressing: plastic surgery is not always for vanity, because it is also used for major physical corrections. In such cases, there is often urgency.

Finally, it should be borne in mind that in the postoperative period the body recovers, the immune system being compromised. A small reaction can turn into a big infection. Therefore, care should be maintained until complete recovery.

Therefore, the importance of the professional and the location of the surgery is obvious. Attention and criteria are necessary when choosing the clinic and the doctor who will perform the procedure.

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