Risks of Surgery
All surgical procedures carry some risks. Fortunately, the risks of complications from cosmetic surgery are rare. Adverse outcomes can usually be corrected by further revisions if necessary.
Complications occurring in the immediate postoperative period are handled as they arise – that is infection, bleeding. The problem is corrected, and usually results in delayed healing by a day or two with no long-term sequelae.
We would be remise, however, if we did not give the patient a thorough review of all the possibilities regarding complications, so that the patient can make an informed decision regarding his choice to have surgery.
Complications are divided into general, which can occur with any surgery and specific which refer only to the procedure in question.
General (Very Rare)
- Adverse reactions to an anesthetic which can ultimately result in death – estimated at 1 in 50,000 surgeries. Anesthesia personnel can discuss this further.
- Medication reaction – unreported allergies or unusual sensitivity reaction resulting in unexpected patient responses. Anesthesia personnel can further elucidate.
- Bleeding – can occur with any operation. This is rare and usually handled as it arises.
- Infection – rare. Treated with antibiotics with usually no sequelae.
- Shock – see above.
- Thrombophlebitis – rare because the procedure is short (relatively) and antithrombotic precautions are part of our plan.
Specific for Phalloplasty (Rare But You Should Be Aware Of)
- Complete permanent erectile dysfunction – most well-trained surgeons have not seen this complication.
- Lumps, bumps, and clumps” from fat not taking or moving. Fat injected into the penis is not resorbed because the penis can be immobilized after surgery. Uneven surfaces after surgery in our experience are due to early inappropriate penile movement – not following postoperative dressing instructions, too early sexual activity including intercourse or masturbation. The penis is smooth after surgery. If lumps are later reported it usually is due to telescoping of the fat on itself. Penile dressing, stretching, and stretching devices will prevent this from happening.
- Scar formation – less than 3% in Asians and African-Americans. Not a problem with Caucasians. The pubic incision is hidden in the pubic hair.
- Complete loss of fat – can be replaced but is never completely lost.
- No gain in length – very low and usually because postop instructions were not followed.
- Post-op emotional or personality changes. The operation may not salvage a troubled relationship or save a marriage. Deep-seated feelings of inadequacy, poor self-esteem, or anger cannot be resolved through surgery. We try to screen unrealistic expectations prior to surgery and point these out to patients.
It is important to keep in mind that each person is different and your results may vary. However, if patients are realistic and motivated to have surgery for the right reasons, we feel they will be happy with the results. Indeed, when asked postoperatively if they would have the surgery again, the vast majority of patients say yes! It is our sincere desire to help you achieve your goals.
We believe you will be happy with your results.