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What are the possible risks and complications of undergoing surgery?

Surgery is almost always associated with certain risks. That is why it is important to compare the benefits of the surgery against its risks.

The surgeon will provide you with information about the possible complications that may occur during or after the surgery. He will also inform you about potential side effects that may occur after the procedure.

Main complications that can occur during or post-surgery

Anesthesia complications – general anesthesia is safe for most patients. Even individuals with serious health conditions can usually undergo general anesthesia without any non-desired consequences.

In very rare occasions severe reactions can occur including:

  • stroke
  • heart attack
  • brain damage
  • death

Massive hemorrhage (bleeding) can lead to shock. Treatment for post-surgery bleeding includes:

  • IV fluids, blood plasma or blood transfusion
  • further surgery to stop the hemorrhage

Deep venous thrombosis, blood clots – during post-operative surgeries, patients can have an increased risk of developing a blood clot in the veins of the calf.

Post-operative lung infections – it is important to exercise the lungs after undergoing surgical procedures with general anesthesia. Lying down for a long time, taking medications for surgery can cause shallow breathing. Lungs, not working at their full potential results in poor oxygen levels and an increased risk of developing pneumonia.

Wound infections - post-surgery infections can occur when bacteria enter the patient’s body at the site of surgery. These infections will delay healing and spread to nearby tissue and organs. Wound infections are usually treated with:

  • prescribed antibiotics
  • in serious cases, a procedure or surgery will be needed to clean or drain the infected wound

The following conditions can increase the risk of complications during surgery, or post-surgery:

  • heart disease  
  • hypertension
  • stroke 
  • bleeding disorders 
  • obesity 
  • lung conditions
  • kidney problems
  • diabetes 
  • obstructive sleep apnea 
  • smoking 
  • addiction to alcohol and illegal drugs

Disclaimer: We do not assume responsibility for the use of the provided information or its interpretation. Our efforts are towards providing current and reliable information; however these should not be considered, or used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment.

Source: https://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Education/Medical-Library/