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What is the risk for death during cosmetic surgery?

Arthur W. Perry, MD
Plastic Surgery
The risk of dying in any surgical procedure is between 1 in 250,000 and 1 in 500,000. This is similar to the risk of dying in a plane crash. In contrast, the chance of being involved in a fatal car accident was estimated at 1 in 2,000 in a study of the California highway system, and 1 in 5,000 nationwide.

Certain procedures are more risky than others. Certainly, the risk of death during eyelid surgery is much lower than the 1 in 50,000 risk of dying during liposuction. In a study of twenty-three office surgery deaths in Florida between January 2000 and May 2004, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons found that the death rate was about 1 in 16,000 procedures overall. An interesting statistic emerges when this information is critically analyzed: the death rate for non-board-certified plastic surgeons, and other doctors such as dermatologists, was 1 in about 11,000 procedures; the death rate was three times lower, about 1 in 35,000, in patients operated on by board-certified plastic surgeons.
Straight Talk about Cosmetic Surgery (Yale University Press Health & Wellness)

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Straight Talk about Cosmetic Surgery (Yale University Press Health & Wellness)

The public’s recent exuberance toward cosmetic surgery has spurred an unprecedented demand for appearance-changing procedures. But how can an average consumer discern the hype from solid truth? ...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.