How To Avoid Post-Surgery Complications | The Emergency Center

3 Common Postsurgical Complications

Postsurgical complications aren’t inevitable, but they can occur. Here’s how to prevent some of the most common.

Complications can arise after any surgery, whether an appendectomy or a simple cosmetic procedure. If you have recently had, or plan to have, surgery, it’s important to be aware of what those complications are so you can get help as soon as possible.

1. Surgical Site Infections

A surgical site is a wound, and germs that exist naturally on the skin or in the air or from a patient’s or caregiver’s hands can enter wounds that aren’t properly cared for. Keep surgical sites clean and change bandages as directed by your provider to help prevent an infection.

Call a doctor if you see signs of a surgical site infection, such as fever, feeling unwell, or a wound that is draining pus, painful to the touch, or hot. A doctor can prescribe antibiotics or offer additional wound care treatments, such as oxygen therapy.

It’s very important to treat surgical infections quickly. Left untreated, they can trigger a deadly inflammatory reaction called sepsis, a serious emergency that can lead to organ failure or death.

2. Heart Problems

Any kind of surgery can stress the heart and lead to cardiovascular complications, in particular, heart attacks and arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat. People with an existing heart condition are at an increased risk, but these complications can affect anyone. Before surgery, discuss your risk for cardiovascular complications with your doctor, who may be able to recommend medications or presurgical therapies that can help reduce surgery’s strain on your heart.

If you recently had surgery and experience any warning signs of a heart attack, seek immediate medical attention.

3. Blood Clots

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 50 percent of blood clots that affect people each year during or after a hospital stay or surgery. There are two main types of blood clots: deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a blood clot in a deep vein, usually in your arm or leg, and pulmonary embolism (PE), a blood clot that has traveled from your vein to your lungs. As with cardiovascular complications, you should discuss your risk of blood clots before surgery so your doctor can offer therapies or medications to help prevent them.

Blood clots can be life-threatening, so seek emergency care of you experience signs of one. Symptoms of DVT include swelling in a leg or arm, leg tenderness or pain similar to a cramp, red or blue skin, or a leg or arm that is warm to the touch. Symptoms of PE include shortness of breath and/or chest pain that comes on suddenly, fast heartbeat, and cough. Blood clots can develop as late as 12 weeks after surgery.

24-Hour Emergency Care for Postsurgical Complications

The Emergency Center’s board-certified emergency medicine physicians have the expertise and access to advanced technologies necessary to treat infections and/or heart complications and identify blood clots. Our 24-hour imaging services, including electrocardiogram and 64-slice CT scanner, can help diagnose cardiovascular problems that may arise, without your having to wait in a hospital ER.

Our three convenient locations in Arlington, Fort Worth, and San Antonio are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Sources: cdc.govcardiosmart.org, onlinejacc.org, facs.org, stoptheclot.org, nhs.uk