There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look your best. Although some people feel plastic surgery is an extreme form of beautification, or that it’s pure vanity, the truth is that we find all kinds of ways to improve the way we look, from makeup and hairspray to orthodontics to crazy diet and exercise regimens. So when you reach the limits of what you can do with over-the-counter products and you’ve exhausted your diet and exercise options, perhaps it’s time to consider plastic surgery as a way to look your best and boost your self-esteem. Of course, like any form of surgery there are risks, and this applies to procedures as simple as lunch-time Botox, all the way up to complex multi-procedural surgeries that include liposuction and augmentation, just for example. Here are a few that you should be aware of before you go under the knife.

The two things that worry most people are scarring and nerve damage, and these are definite possibilities with any number of cosmetic surgery procedures. Even Botox injections can lead to permanent damage that leaves you unable to move a portion of your face. And any time you cut your skin you could end up with scarring. The best thing you can do to avoid such issues is go to a professional that comes highly recommended, has extensive credentials, runs a legitimate and established business, and has a long history of successful procedures. There are no guarantees, but doing your homework and finding a doctor with the right education and a stellar reputation can definitely put your mind at ease and provide you with the best opportunity to come out of your procedure looking better than before.

Of course, those are just the best known risks. Other common problems that can result from plastic surgery include infection, numbness (although it’s rarely permanent), and bleeding. Less common with reputable doctors are issues like ptosis (sagging and drooping, which can often be corrected with a follow-up surgery), hematoma (blood clots, which may clear up on their own or may require a procedure to correct), seroma (fluid build-up, which many doctors use drains to prevent), and of course, death. On the other hand, you may be more worried about something that we have not yet mentioned: bad plastic surgery.

We’ve all seen people who have had horrible work done, or too much plastic surgery (or both). We’ve seen the stretched faces, the permanent looks of surprise or shock, the lips that appear to have been stung by a hive full of bees, and the unnatural, plasticine texture that can result from too much plumping, stretching, grafting, and whatnot. And these types of issues can result when you go with a doctor that is inexperienced, cheap, or willing to do anything you ask without cautioning you about the way it will look. So before you get a breast augmentation, a tummy tuck, or a full-on facelift, you might want to think long and hard about how much you want it and whether or not it is worth the risks. With the right doctor on your side you’ll have little to fear, but you’re the one who will ultimately have to live with any consequences.