10 Common Surgery Complications and What to Do About Them

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In any situation, surgeries are serious medical procedures. At the same time, they are quite common. In fact, there is a predicted increase in the number of surgeries happening every year in the US. Research shows that “the number of outpatient surgical procedures in the US is expected to grow from ~129 million procedures in 2018 to ~144 million procedures by 2023″. Going for surgery necessitates awareness about the common complications that can occur post-procedure. Most patients experience resolvable, mild complications. However,  some people can develop more serious surgery complications like an infection or pneumonia.

People must be aware of the possible complications from a surgical procedure, their impact, and what should be done. This knowledge is especially important for you when you have a loved one undergoing surgery so that you can understand and help appropriately in case a complication occurs. You must also understand that while some complications are common, others can be a result of medical negligence.

That is why, in this article, we discuss in detail 10 common surgery complications and what to do about them. Read on to learn more about this topic.

1. Pain From Surgery Complications

Pain is perhaps the most common complaint after surgery. You must expect some degree of pain after an operation. This can be easily addressed with pain medications which are usually prescribed by the doctors. If the procedure is invasive, then the amount of pain experienced will be relatively low.

However, if the pain persists or increases, along with other symptoms like swelling around the operated area, you should reach out to doctors immediately. Any delay in getting medical attention can prove to be detrimental and result in further complications like infection or sepsis.

2. Shock

In medical terms, shock refers to dangerous reductions in blood flow levels in the body. Usually, shocks result from a sudden drop in blood pressure. If you feel that the patient is in the state of shock, then you can take the following actions immediately-

  • Stop any blood loss and maintain open airways.
  • Keep the patient flat
  • Reduce any heat loss by using blankets
  • Contact the doctor or hospital immediately because the patient may need oxygen therapy, medication, and/or intravenous infusion of blood.

3. Reaction to Anesthesia

People usually wake up from anesthesia with some degree of queasiness and confusion with a sore throat or itching. These symptoms pass away after some time. However, in rare scenarios, patients can show symptoms like memory loss for a prolonged period or exhibit an allergic reaction to the anesthesia.

If those occur, then it is prudent to contact the medical professionals immediately for treatment. Also, if there are underlying conditions like heart disease, Parkinson’sAlzheimer’s, lung diseases or a history of stroke, then it is advised to talk to the doctors about the risks of anesthesia before the surgery.

4. Nausea

Postoperative nausea and vomiting is a common side effect of surgery. While it can be easily prevented with proper medications, care must be taken if the patient feels more nauseous than expected. Also, vomiting can be painful especially if the surgery involved an abdominal incision.

If you find the patient feeling very nauseous or vomiting, then ask for appropriate medications to relieve the complaint. It is always advisable to treat this condition preventatively than after the patient starts feeling ill.

5. Hemorrhage

Excessive bleeding or hemorrhage can lead to falling in blood pressure and ultimately shock. If you encounter such a situation, then the best course of action is to call for medical help while temporarily stopping the blood loss through pressure application at the site of loss, if possible. Usually, the course of treatment in case of blood loss involves saline infusions to make up for the fluid loss and blood transfusions.

6. Pulmonary Surgery Complications Like Pneumonia

Pulmonary complications like pneumonia or atelectasis can arise after surgery due to the lack of deep breathing or accumulation of fluid in the lungs. It can also happen to patients who are unable to cough after the procedure.

If a patient is at risk for developing these conditions, then they are provided with a medical device called an incentive spirometer during discharge. When the patient shows signs of breathing difficulties, this device is used to help them breathe. Sometimes, medications are also provided to treat these conditions. In extreme cases, when the patient feels uncomfortable, checked with their doctor.

7. Deep Vein Thrombosis/ Blood Clots

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or blood clots in the deep-lying veins is not quite uncommon in surgery patients. These clots can pose a danger when they break free and block a cardiac artery, resulting in a cardiac arrest.

DVT is usually treated preventatively with doctors prescribing anticoagulant medications to patients who are at risk. However, if someone develops blood clots post-surgery, then give them thrombolytic medications to dissolve the clots. In some cases, additional surgery treats this and prevent it from becoming fatal. DVT symptoms incluse pain in the leg and skin discoloration in one leg.

8. Infection/Sepsis

Preventing infection after an operation is of utmost importance. That is why preventative measures, like washing hands and using sterilized tools, are recommended.

However, if you feel that an infection is occurring, then the best course of action is to take prescribed antibiotics. Keep the affected area clean. If the infection persists, consult a doctor immediately to prevent any delay in the healing process.

9. Urinary Complications

For patients who get a urinary catheter during surgery, there are chances of urine retention after the process. This results in difficulty urinating resolved after the procedure. But, if the problem persists, then the usage of the catheter may have to be continued until the bladder functions.

This also can lead to urinary tract infections (UTI). UTI can be painful and cause further complications if not treated. The best course of action is to take dedicated medications for this purpose, which are highly effective.

10. Wound Dehiscence

Wound dehiscence refers to the wound or site of surgery opening up. In most cases, consequences include delayed healing for a week.

However, if the site opens up badly, then the wound needs to be disinfected and sealed back up. Visit a doctor, in that case, for a professional opinion, if necessary. Failure to do so can lead to severe infection later.

Acting on Time

10 Common Surgery Complications and What to Do About Them

In most cases, treat these complications effectively if detected on time. It is normal for patients to have one of a few of these complaints after the procedure. Doctors usually prepare the patients for such scenarios and prescribe necessary medications as preventative measures. However, if you find that you or your loved one is facing complications from surgery due to medical negligence, then it is a very serious matter and needs to be addressed appropriately.

Learn More About Surgery Complications

At Weltchek Mallahan & Weltchek, we assist our clients to fight against medical malpractice. We work closely with our clients and help them receive the quality of care they deserve after a surgical procedure. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how can we help you with your requirements. 

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