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What are some risks of surgery?

The type and level of risks vary widely, depending on the operation and your medical condition.

Mortality is always a risk in surgery, but to put that in context, it is also always a risk in crossing the street. The risk ranges from virtually zero to fifty percent and up.  Highly invasive surgery creates a greater likelihood of something happening that could threaten your life.

Pain is another variable that totally depends on the operation. If you are concerned about pain and how to relieve it, speak up. Don’t go into surgery dreading pain or worrying that you sound weak if you insist on having appropriate measures to relieve it.

Fatigue is a universal complication of surgery. Studies have shown that any one of the components of surgery—anesthesia, bed rest, lack of food—can bring on fatigue. Often patients feel okay directly after surgery, only to feel worse in the following days. This is usually followed by gradual improvement. If you know this in advance, you can understand the recovery process and not be afraid that something is wrong when normal fatigue sets in.
 
Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgery
There are true risks from any surgery, although the rate of serious complications is quite low in competent surgeons’ hands. The most common acute risk is bleeding or a hematoma, occurring approximately 1% of the time, with infection the second most common risk at 0.5%. Other risks include: pain, swelling, cellulitis, skin loss, fat atrophy, scarring, deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolus, anesthetic complications, secondary surgeries, and death. During your pre-operative visit, the patient should discuss the most common risks and complications with the surgeon and review the Do's and Don’ts to reduce them.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.