Any surgical procedure, regardless of whether it is an emergency intervention or what is considered an elective – the definition of which is far more general than you would assume – is a major event and it is critical that you go in absolutely prepared. If you are about to undergo surgery for whatever reason, the following are some of the most common risks you should be aware of.
You should also be sure to check-in with your medical professional well ahead of time in case there are issues pertaining to your particular condition that you need to bear in mind for the difficult journey ahead.
1. Allergy to Anesthesia
The first thing you will need to be aware of is that a common risk is one that can occur well ahead of the surgical process. This is during sedation; while anesthesia is meant to keep you from feeling a hugely painful procedure, it can also result in a few complications. For example, the most common problem associated with anesthesia administration is when inserting the breathing tube. Some patients can experience an increased heart rate or elevated blood pressure as a result, which is very problematic depending on your condition. Check-in with your doctor and anesthesiologist before undertaking a major surgical procedure.
2. Operating on the Wrong Site
Unfortunately, there have been numerous cases where a medical professional enters or operates on the wrong side of the patient’s body, which can result in quite a few issues. A wrong site surgery is admittedly rare, but it does occur from time to time and can lead to a wealth of operative and post-operative complications. Make sure that the hospital you are visiting is vetted and experienced in the field for which you seek care. Also, look into the referring physician and the surgeon who will be operating on you, and check their track record. It should be immediately clear the level of proficiency and expertise they possess.
3. Increased Risk of Infection
Another incredibly common risk factor when dealing with infections is the proliferate of infections. Any time the skin is punctured, there is a risk of infection since you are in effect doing away with the body’s natural barrier. A surgical incision can be a breeding ground for infection if not cared for properly, even if the hospital is incredibly clean. The patient absolutely needs to follow the doctor’s orders on how to care for their scar or the incision immediately after surgery. If left too long, a skin infection can turn into a blood infection, which is deadly.
4. Difficulty Breathing
Lots of patients tend to experience difficulty breathing in the immediate aftermath of a surgery. They might be hooked up to a ventilator or breathing machine for a while, and it will take time for their ability to breathe to be strengthened once they are off the ventilator entirely. The doctor may prescribe some exercises the patient will have to practice for quite some time after leaving the hospital in order to make it easier to breathe.
The specific risks or challenges each patient will face when it comes to surgery will ultimately depend on his or her own particular condition, and whether they are already immunocompromised to an extent. Ultimately, doing the proper research ahead of time and checking with your doctor should protect you from a lot of problems that may crop up.