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4 Type of Postoperative Complications

All surgeries involve a certain level of risk. Errors can be made during procedure preparations or even during the actual procedure. Complications during postoperative care are also quite common. Sometimes these types of complications can be anticipated and managed. However, there are some postoperative complications that can not be anticipated or prepared for.

1. Blood clots

Blood clots can appear within any patient, however they are most common amongst orthopedic surgeries. Blood is meant to flow freely through our bodies. When blood converges together it forms a blood clot. When blood clots form they have the ability to travel to areas of your body and cause serious damage. A blood clot in the leg or lungs can be disastrous for the patient. Patients who are immobile and not able to move their limbs freely are at risk for blood clots. Also, patients that are heavy smokers are also more susceptible to blood clots than non-smokers. When medical staff do not encourage patients to move around or they fail to continuously turn patients over in beds this can cause blood clots.

2. Fatigue

Many patients underestimate the amount of time they will need before they can resume work. Procedures, especially procedures that require anesthesia and incisions require at least a week of rest. Surgery takes a toll on the human body. Our bodies need time to recover from stress and fatigue. Most doctors advise returning to normal life after at least 4-5 days of rest. The amount of time needed can range depending on type of surgery, age of the patient, medical history, and details of the actual procedure. If there were complications during the procedure, such as a nicked vessel that caused bleeding the recuperation time may be longer than originally anticipated.

3. Effects of Anesthesia

Almost all surgical procedures require anesthesia. This is to ensure that the patient does not experience pain during the actual procedure and so that they also remember as little as possible when they wake. As beneficial as anesthesia is to the patient, it can also come with its own set of risks. Some patients, especially elderly patients have a difficult time dealing with the effects of anesthesia. Some of these effects include: heavy nausea, sore throat, drowsiness, confusion, and inability to relieve oneself. It can remain in your system for about 24-36 hours. It is very important that patients understand that they should not operate heavy machinery or overextend themselves during this time. Another frightening reality is that some patients are not given enough anesthesia and they wake up during the procedure. It is not very common, but there are some reported cases where this did occur.

4. Infections

Unfortunately, post surgery infections do happen. Sometimes this is a result of error that falls upon medical staff. Other times infections are caused by things the medical staff can not control. The most common and dangerous type of infections are Staphylococcus aureus (staph) infections. This is a bacterial infection that is resistant to some antibiotics.

Some of these postoperative complications happen within hospital doors, some take place when the patient is resting at home. Whatever the situation, always keep your doctor updated on any pain or discomfort you feel. Discomfort is expected post-surgery. However, some pains could be a sign of serious complications.

If you feel that your complications were a result of medical malpractice or surgical error, contact us at Colley and Colley for a free consultation.