Warning Signs After Plastic Surgery: Post-Op Complications

Whether you wish to enhance your face, breasts, or body with a cosmetic procedure, or if you require reconstructive hand surgery, Dr. McCall and compassionate team at Lake Country Plastic & Hand Surgery here to provide you with the outstanding results you deserve.

A good cosmetic surgery is nothing without proper healing. Problems with recovery can have a negative impact on the results of a procedure as well as a patient’s overall health. That is why our Milwaukee, WI practice takes time to go over the post-op process for all patients, whether they undergo body contouring surgery or facial rejuvenation.

Below we want to list some warning signs that patients should look out for after their surgical procedure. These adverse side effects are usually an indication of infection and other types of problems.

Excessive Pain

Pain after undergoing surgery is normal and can be managed with prescription pain medication; patients will notice the pain diminishes as the recovery process unfolds. If your pain get worse, that’s usually a sign that something is wrong and requires professional attention.

Severe Swelling

Swelling is to be expected after surgery, with major swelling lasting for two weeks and continuing for a few weeks after that. If your swelling gets worse or the swelling is extreme and unhealthy, it needs to be looked at by your surgeon. Do not attempt to treat the swelling yourself.

Bruising Doesn’t Fade

Noticeable bruising after surgery tends to last for about two weeks, turning into mild discoloration. Patients will notice a change in color during the first week. If the bruising gets darker or spreads, that is an indication that blood vessels and soft tissue are being damaged. You definitely need a doctor for treatment.

Excessive Bleeding

Very minor bleeding for a day or so after surgery is normal even as wounds are sutured. However, excessive bleeding after surgery is generally a sign that a suture is not working properly, an incision has been reopened, or you’ve suffered some sort of internal injury. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Lasting Fatigue

You might feel tired or groggy after surgery, which is natural as the anesthesia wears off. Usually you’ll notice improvements in your energy level as the days pass. Persistent fatigue is usually one symptom of a problem. Be sure to note how you’re feeling mentally and physically as you heal.

Heat Around the Surgical Site

You may notice a little bit of warmth around the surgical area as you are healing, which is normal. However, if the surgical area is hot to the touch or continually gets warmer, the tends to be a telltale sign of infection. Be mindful of this and how your body feels overall.


Running a fever after surgery is always worth reporting to your surgeon. It could be the first signs of a post-surgical infection. Addressing it sooner rather than later is always ideal.

Pus and Strange Fluids from the Body

Some fluid or drainage from incisions may occur in the first day or so of recovery. If you have drainage tubes in place, you’ll obviously have to monitor the fluid. Normally the fluid is clear and pinkish. If you notice any pus or irregularly colored fluid as you are healing, report it to your surgeon right away.

Bad Smell

The nose knows exactly what’s up. If you notice any foul or unpleasant odors as you are resting, this may be the sign of an infection. Usually the smell accompanies other signs of complications.

Problems with Your Legs

If you are sedentary for too long after surgery, you may develop a blood clot in the legs. This is a dangerous condition known as deep vein thrombosis. Be sure to walk a little each day. If you notice leg pain or major swelling in the legs, bring this to the attention of your surgeon ASAP.

Contact Lake Country Plastic & Hand Surgery

To learn more about the healing process and what you can do to have a safe and speedy recovery, be sure to contact an experienced cosmetic surgeon. We at Lake Country Plastic & Hand Surgery are here to help you experience a safe and rewarding surgical procedure.

Send Us A Message

Office Information & Hours

Share This Page


Achieve Your Cosmetic & Wellness Goals Today!