Death due to post-plastic surgery complications very rare, first 24-hours critical: Doctors

PTI, May 18, 2022, 9:32 AM IST

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New Delhi / Bengaluru:  Fatality due to complications that people may suffer after undergoing plastic surgery is “very rare”, but the first 24-hours post-operation is critical and patients need to be put under observation for that period, medical experts said on Tuesday.

A promising young TV actor died after undergoing plastic surgery at a facility in Bengaluru, police said on Tuesday, with the victim’s family alleging medical negligence over the ‘fat-free’ procedure she underwent at the cosmetic centre.

Chethana Raj (21), who is said to have had a promising career, had made a mark in daily soap operas such as ‘Doresani’ and ‘Geetha.’ Her father K Varadaraj said the hospital authorities told him his daughter died of a cardiac arrest.

Plastic as well reconstructive surgery and beauty enhancement surgery experts also said more people are now choosing to go for such operations after the advent of social media, with “increased consciousness about their body image all the time”.

Dr Vivek Kumar, senior consultant, aesthetic and plastic surgery at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital here said, “It will be difficult to tell what could have caused the death, without knowing the full details of the surgery and which body part was involved in it”.

“But, death due to complications that people may suffer after undergoing plastic surgery for cosmetic enhancement is very rare. In fact, as per a global study, the chance of fatality is about 20 per lakh,” he told PTI.

Kumar, who has been working at the SGRH since 2005, said deaths can occur in such cases due to drug reaction after suffering allergy post administering of an antibiotic or strong reaction from anaesthesia effect, pulmonary oedema leading to heart arrest, among other factors.

“We tell our patients that all surgeries are important, be it major or minor. And, though chances of death from complications that patients may suffer after undergoing plastic surgery are very rare, the first 24 hours are critical, and at Ganga Ram Hospital, we keep all our patients under 24-hour observation,” he said.

Aesthetic surgery include botox, facelift, liposuction, fat injection, breast augmentation, breast reduction, tummy tuck, rhinoplasty (nose job), inner thigh lift, among other procedures.

Asked people from which age group generally opt for such surgeries, he said, “Women opt for it more then men, and people in the age group of 20-30 generally go for it”.

Dr Richie Gupta, director and head of department, plastic & reconstructive surgery, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, echoed Kumar’s opinion.

He said, “Earlier more models, actors and other women from the entertainment industry, were going for cosmetic surgery, but with the advent of social media, even people in the corporate sector and other sectors, and even teens are going for it.

He said “two-thirds of our patients are women”.

Gupta also agreed with Kumar that chances of fatality due to complications that people may suffer is “very rare”.The goal of cosmetic surgery is to improve a person’s appearance, self-esteem and self-confidence. Cosmetic surgery can be performed on any part of the face and body. Gupta and Kumar concurred that many times a person opts for such a surgery owing to societal pressure and “idea of beauty” or low self-esteem.

Both doctors said at times people have a “very decent body, but they insist a surgery be done to enhance the look, “but we just refuse such surgeries”.

Plastic surgeries and cosmetic procedures are common in the entertainment industry, but are often kept a secret. From facelifts, botox, lip and nose jobs as well as breast enhancement, many actors have opted for various procedures, to sometimes “look the part” or as a corrective measure.

Actor Priyanka Chopra in her memoir ‘Unfinished’ released in February 2021 also discusses rumours about her much-publicised plastic surgery in 2001, which she said she had undergone to treat a polyp in her nasal cavity after having trouble breathing.

“While shaving off the polyp, the doctor also accidentally shaved the bridge of my nose and the bridge collapsed. When it was time to remove the bandages and the condition of my nose was revealed, Mom and I were horrified. My original nose was gone,” she wrote.

Actor Shruti Haasan had posted on Instagram on this issue in 2020.

“I’m happy to say this is my life my face and yes I’ve had plastic surgery which I’m not ashamed to admit. Do I promote it ? No am I against it ? No – it’s just how I choose to live. The biggest favour we can do for ourselves and others is just be and learn to accept the changes and the movement of our bodies and minds. Spread love and be chill. I’m learning everyday to love me for me just a little more because the greatest love story of my life is with myself and I hope yours is too,” she wrote.

By Kunal Dutt

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