Say you have a certain ailment and after much prodding and nudging, your doctor finally found out what’s wrong with you and says you need surgery to fix it. You might release a sigh of relief at having your illness finally decrypted, better yet, they found a way to make it go away. But then all those horror stories of how bad things happen to people in surgeries come to mind. You start to panic and get second thoughts about signing that consent form. Should I or shouldn’t I becomes your most nagging question. Here’s a way to put everything into perspective.
Generally when a patient needs surgery, certain factors are put into mind. The harm of not doing the surgery vs the benefits of doing the surgery. When the latter far outweighs the former, you go ahead and do the surgery with a strong heart. So what are the risk factors of having surgery anyway? What are the general things to look out for and be aware of? We can summarize these factors as the following:
1- Risk of Anaesthesia
2- Risk of the Procedure
3-Patient’s fitness related risks
Risk of Anesthesia (whether it’s local, regional, spinal, or general)
– Allergy to anesthetic agent.
– Infection at site of injection. If infection is at epiduralor spinal site, might lead to life threatening sepsis.
– Headache ranging from minor dull pain to debilitating one that needs intervention.
– Hematoma (collection of blood) at site of injection.
– Residual weakness and numbness
– Lung problems especially if you are a smoker, have bronchial asthma or any chronic lung disease.
– Choking on a broken or loose tooth, that’s why they check your teeth before surgery. Better yet, go to your dentist first.
Risk of the procedure
– Bleeding at the site of surgery.
– Wrong technique
– Infection of site of surgery.
– Opening of wound after closure.
– Failure of procedure.
Other risk factors especially if patient is obese, has diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or any other serious medical illness
– Deep vein thromboses especially if patient doesn’t move after surgery. It is a condition where there is a blood clot in the calf.
– Pulmonary embolism, which means blood clot of the lung
– Constant pain at site of surgery, due to slow healing process.
This was an overview of the most common problems one encounters with surgeries. So the next time you are offered surgery for an ailment, you should go over the risks vs the benefits with your doctor. Ask as many questions as you want because, no matter how simple the procedure might be, it is still surgery.