With the vast number of surgeries performed every year, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the potential complications. Some of these risks are relatively mild and can be dealt with without having to resort to surgery, while others may be life-threatening.
Anesthesia and pain control The most common complications of a surgery include bleeding from the incisions, which can result from lack of anesthetic or improper anesthetic use. These complications generally do not require hospitalization, but they should be reported to your surgeon. In more serious complications, infection may develop after an open incision is made, as bacteria can enter an incision through an open wound.
A blood clot can form in a vein or artery and lead to a stroke or heart attack. Other complications can include tissue necrosis, which occurs when a dead organ is replaced by healthy tissue. A blood clot can also break away from its clotting site and enter the bloodstream. This condition, called thrombosis, can lead to death if it is left untreated. Some other complications include infection of the peritoneum, which is the lining of the abdominal cavity; gastrointestinal complications such as perforation of the esophagus; or complications involving the urinary tract and bladder.
Aspirin deficiency Aspirin, a common nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), can cause a blood clot that forms in a vein. This condition, called thrombosis that develops due to the blood clot moving through the veins, is also known as atherosclerosis. In some cases, the clot can travel to the lungs and cause pneumonia.
Incision errors It is important to note that surgery involves many factors including the size of the incision, how the incision was made, and the amount of bleeding after the procedure. The size of the incisions made are usually determined by the anatomy of the patient’s body. For example, if the patient has a wide chest, then the surgeon may use an incision that has been made in the lower chest rather than in the heart. The length of time the surgery takes may also affect the size of the incision, and it is important to understand the surgical plan thoroughly.
Incisions can be sewn, perforated, or punctured. The type of incision and the length of time it takes to heal depends on the type of injury and the location of the injury. When an individual receives stitches, they should stay clean and dry at all times to prevent bacterial growth. It is also essential that the stitches are removed only when the patient is no longer having discomfort, as they can irritate the skin and create scarring.
Postoperative Infections Although surgical wounds are cleaned, the surgical site is vulnerable to postoperative infections. When the surgical site is infected, it can cause bleeding and infection that may lead to further complications. If the wound is large or if the wound is in a more delicate area, then this complication is even more likely to occur.
Complications due to infection include severe scarring, fluid loss, and shock. Bleeding from the wound leads to shock, and if not treated, it can cause internal bleeding and permanent damage. Another complication of infection is post-surgical inflammation and bleeding.
Intravenous catheterization One complication of surgery is the introduction of a needle into the patient’s blood. In this process, a needle is inserted through the skin into a vein to collect a patient’s blood. Once the patient leaves the surgery, they must undergo treatment to remove the needle. The needle, or any foreign body, can cause an infection that requires antibiotics to combat it.
Wound Infection A wound infection is caused when bacteria forms and begins to enter the wound. A wound infection can also cause redness and tenderness as well as inflammation that are hard to control. The cause of this complication is an injury that has occurred, or the use of inappropriate anesthesia.
Postoperative infection occurs when bacteria forms and spreads throughout the body and begins to reach the brain. This complication is a result of bacteria entering the brain or the central nervous system and is very serious. Complications that occur because of an infected wound can cause severe bleeding or can lead to death if not treated.