What Every Woman Should Know about Facelifts and Cosmetic Surgery

Getting a facelift, eyelid surgery or laser skin resurfacing might be tempting if you’re starting to see your first serious wrinkles. These cosmetic procedures aren’t as easy as the advertisements often suggest, however. They come with a range of potential complications and side effects that can turn your skin-rejuvenating treatment into a nightmare. If you’re considering cosmetic surgery or a non-invasive cosmetic procedure of any kind, it’s a good idea to take a look at the dangers and other disadvantages of these treatments before you make an appointment. Here’s what you need to know before you think about cosmetic surgery to remove wrinkles.

Risk of Failure

What many cosmetic surgeons won’t tell you initially is that these procedures aren’t perfect. While doctors perform thousands of facelifts every year, they can’t guarantee a good result. Cosmetic procedures may produce unexpected scarring, changes in the color of your skin and other problems. In some rare cases, they can even end up creating a less-attractive look than the one you started with.

Even if the procedure doesn’t fail, you may find that the skin treatments you choose produce unexpected effects. For instance, tightening the skin around your eyes could draw attention to other, previously less-noticeable wrinkles. A facelift could make your jawline look too sharp or produce an overly-alert, “surprised” look. It’s important to know that getting skin procedures performed by a cosmetic surgeon isn’t a magic bullet and you won’t get a guarantee on how you’ll look afterward.

In many cases, a failed cosmetic procedure or one that produces unexpected results can be fixed or at least made to look better via revision surgery. A surprising number of people eventually need revisions, which are usually smaller surgeries, but require additional recovery time and don’t always fix the problem completely. In addition, you’ll need to pay for your revision out of pocket, in addition to the cost of the original surgery.


Getting over a cosmetic procedure can be difficult, especially if you expect to return to work or school shortly after you get out of the hospital. While facelifts and blepharoplasties produce less pain than some other procedures, since nerves are temporarily cut during the surgery, they still take a big toll on your body. You can expect to need prescription and over the counter painkillers for several weeks after the procedure.

You may also find that the recovery process seriously affects your ability to get things done. Many people feel tired or unhappy after their cosmetic procedures, since their bodies are dedicating most of the available resources toward healing their wounds. This can make it hard to live up to your full potential at work. It can also make it difficult to interact with your family or enjoy your old hobbies and activities for several weeks.

Social Stigma

If you choose to have a cosmetic skin procedure performed, you may be surprised by the reactions of people around you. A surprisingly large percentage of the population still looks down on elective cosmetic surgical treatments. Your friends and family may not be as supportive as you would like them to be. Choosing an anti-aging procedure can even threaten relationships, since your partner may not always understand why you want to look younger.

People outside of your immediate social circles can put undesirable pressure on you, as well. If you get plastic surgery to look younger or correct wrinkling, you may find yourself at the center of office or church gossip. It’s common to look down on people who get this kind of procedure as vain or self-centered, even though many non-surgical procedures don’t suffer from this stigma. If you want to get a cosmetic procedure performed on your skin, you need to be ready for the possible backlash.


Even the best surgeon can make mistakes or run into unexpected problems. Complications from plastic surgery can include nerve damage, large or unattractive scars, infections, long-term pain and a range of other issues. In some cases, a simple surgery to reduce wrinkling around the eyes could render you unable to blink, even after a host of corrective revisions.

A facelift gone wrong can cause nerve damage that prevents you from feeling sensations on the surface of your face or maintaining a normal expression. These types of severe complications aren’t all that common, but they are a very real risk for anyone who decides to get cosmetic surgery. Choosing a good doctor with a long history of satisfied patients will help reduce that risk, but it won’t eliminate it. There’s always a chance that something could go wrong.

Career Effects

When you get a cosmetic skin procedure, you need to factor in the cost and effects of your recovery time. Even non-surgical cosmetic procedures often take several days for full recovery. If you decide to undergo surgery, you may have to be out of work for a week or more, and when you return to work, you’ll have bruising and obvious wounds that you’ll need to explain to your co-workers.

Taking the time off of work can be difficult, especially if your job has a heavy workload, if you’re the only one in your position, or if you work in a field where paid sick leave is unavailable. For many people who have service jobs, taking several weeks off of work for a voluntary medical procedure could even lead to getting fired. It’s important to pay attention to the possible effects your surgery could have on your career before you make the leap.

Danger of Depression

A surprising number of patients become depressed after getting cosmetic procedures performed. This is due to the physical and emotional stress associated with the surgery and the recovery time. Patients who get a facelift or other procedure in order to make themselves look more attractive may be disappointed or shocked by the bruising, swelling and other unattractive side effects immediately after surgery. It can take weeks or months to learn what you will look like after a skin procedure.

Post-surgery depression is also common in people who don’t talk extensively with their doctors about what to expect, especially if those people had self-esteem or self-image problems before undergoing the surgery. The risk is highest in people who have previously suffered from depression or other mental and emotional illnesses. Anyone can go through a temporary depression after cosmetic surgery, however.

Health Risks

In addition to potential undesirable side effects, cosmetic procedures can also pose a serious danger to your health. Like the worst complications, these problems occur relatively infrequently, but they’re still a risk. For instance, because most cosmetic surgeries require general anesthesia, you automatically carry some risk of a heart attack, respiratory obstruction or other life-threatening problem while you’re asleep. Some people who go under anesthesia for surgery simply never wake up. This risk increases if you are severely obese, have pre-existing heart or breathing problems, or if you have high blood pressure. Smokers, heavy drinkers and people on some types of medications are also at a higher risk for death in the operating room.

After surgery, you’re not out of danger. Blood clots can block your veins and arteries, producing potentially-fatal conditions. You might also suffer from unusual bleeding, bruising or an infection. These problems are usually not dangerous on their own, but they can become much more serious if they go untreated.

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