8 Symptoms Of Post-Surgery Complications You Shouldn’t Ignore

Surgery is a medical treatment that uses invasive techniques, such as cuts and incisions, to remove infected organs or treat diseases and other medical conditions. Before the treatment, the doctor will carefully examine the patient to ensure that the surgical method is appropriate for their condition.

Surgery

Surgery

However, all surgical operations have risks. Your surgeon will discuss these with you to give you an option of whether to proceed with the surgery or not. If your doctor fails to advise you about these risks, you have the right to file a lawsuit against them. You may consult https://www.hastingsfirm.com/ or your local personal injury or medical malpractice law firms for more details.

Read Also: Wrongful Death From Medical Negligence: 4 Things To Know

After deciding to go through with the surgery, you may experience usual complications. While most of them are not a part of the healing process, some may heal on their own and be gone in a few days. However, some of them could lead to potentially dangerous conditions and require intensive medical care.

So, listen carefully to your body, and if you think something’s not right or the healing process is taking too long, call your doctor immediately. Moreover, here are the following symptoms of post-surgery complications you might need to watch out for:

  1. Breathing Difficulties

Breathing problems, especially shortness of breath, are one of the most common symptoms you may experience after surgery. The cause may vary, depending on the type of surgical operation or anesthesia used. In any case, it’s best to call 911 and seek medical attention as soon as possible to avoid further complications.

Shortness of breath could be a sign of lung infection or disease. This may occur to people who undergo surgery with general anesthesia, which may increase your chance of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

DVT is a blood clot that may travel to your lungs, resulting in pulmonary embolism. It is a serious medical condition and requires immediate medical treatment. However, you may reduce your chance of developing the condition by walking as much as your doctor instructs you. Walking promotes proper blood flow, preventing any formation of a blood clot.

  1. High Fever

A low-grade fever (body temperature between 37-38C or 100-101F) is usually normal after surgery and may go down in a day or couple of days. However, if your fever is higher than 38C or 101F and shows no signs of relief, inform your surgeon right away and ask for a thorough checkup.

The most common cause of post-surgical fever is atelectasis. This condition happens when the air sacs inside your lungs deflate. The usual cause of atelectasis is general anesthesia because it changes the breathing pattern, relating to the symptom of shortness of breath.

Read Also: Why You Should Seek Professional Legal Help In Case Of Medical Negligence

Another possible cause of post-surgical fever is pneumonia, an infection in the lungs. As you may already know, this condition can be fatal if not addressed immediately. If you’re diagnosed with pneumonia, you might need to prepare for a longer hospital stay to prevent other serious complications, especially now that you’re prone to infections.

Having a high fever after the surgery could mean serious complications, such as wounds and organ infections. So, it’s best to seek medical treatment as soon as possible.

Moreover, here are the possible treatment options, depending on your condition:

  • Oxygen
  • IV fluids
  • Blood thinners
  • Antibiotics
  • Incentive spirometry to expand the capacity of your lungs

It’s important to monitor your temperature at least twice a day for two to three weeks and take note of it. If you can’t do this yourself, ask for assistance and have them check it for you. This record may come in handy, especially when your surgeon needs to know when your fever first occurred and for how long.

  1. Intensifying Pain

Pain is the most common post-surgical symptom, especially if it involves a large cut or incision. You may feel mild to moderate pain and may usually be gone after taking pain-relieving medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like naproxen sodium, ibuprofen, and aspirin.

However, if the pain intensifies instead of calming down even after taking medications, consult your doctor and seek medical attention immediately. It could be a sign of underlying serious medical conditions that require medical treatment.

Also, most people hesitate to ask for help because they feel embarrassed about it. However, this may only worsen your condition. So, ask for your surgeon’s aid to control the discomfort and accelerate the healing process.

Read Also: Medical Malpractice: How Medication Errors Can Be Devastating

  1. Smelly Discharge From The Wound

After surgical operations, your incision may excrete sticky fluids. These could be thick or thin consistency and transparent or yellowish. These are usually normal and a part of the healing process. However, if it produces smelly and greenish fluid and the wound area appears red and is hot to touch, you might need to have it checked by your surgeon immediately.

This symptom may indicate an infected wound that requires immediate medical treatment. The infection may come from bacteria, which produce a strong and ammonia-like smell and pus.

The best thing you can do to prevent the infection from worsening is to observe the discharged fluids and ask your doctor if it’s still normal or not.

  1. Constipation

Constipation is a normal surgical side effect that most people don’t expect. It occurs because of several factors, including:

  • General anesthesia
  • Narcotic pain relievers
  • Prolonged inactivity
  • Diet changes, especially if it lacks fiber-rich foods

Usually, constipation may cause post-surgical discomfort, but it’s often manageable. Your doctor may require you to move and walk around or adjust your medication. Your doctor may also advise you to drink prune juice, increase water intake, or take a stool softener or medications to normalize your bowel movement. It’s crucial not to force yourself to poop, especially after abdominal surgery, to avoid serious problems.

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However, if you’re still constipated after a couple of days of treatment, you need to consult your doctor immediately to prevent the following complications, such as:

It’s best to always update your doctor about these side effects for the sake of your well-being.

  1. Depression

Having a surgical operation can affect the mental health and stability of any patient, especially if it significantly reduces their quality of life. In most cases, major surgeries, such as for heart and cancer-related diseases, often leave their patients mentally devastated and depressed. Unfortunately, episodes of depression may last for weeks, depending on how mentally vulnerable the patient is.

At this point, the patient needs extreme support from their family and friends to lift their spirit and make them realize that there’s still more to life. Additionally, the surgeon may refer them to a psychiatrist or therapist for medications and activities that can help control depressive episodes.

Furthermore, post-surgical depression should not be ignored as this may slow down the healing process. So, seek immediate mental care as soon as possible.

  1. Persistent Vomiting Or Diarrhea

Several surgical operations may trigger vomiting and diarrhea, such as surgeries for the breast and abdominal areas. Your medications may also induce these symptoms, especially narcotic pain relievers. But usually, vomiting and diarrhea may be relieved after a day or two.

However, if these conditions persist for at least three days, seeking immediate medical attention is your best option. The occurrence of these symptoms may lead to serious complications and dehydration, so don’t ignore them. Also, don’t try to medicate yourself in these conditions; only take medicines recommended by your surgeon.

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  1. Wound Dehiscence

Usually, surgical cuts and wounds are closed by several stitches (sutures). However, if these stitches fall apart and open up your wound, it would be best to call your doctor immediately. This situation is called dehiscence and is also known as wound breakdown and separation.

Dehiscence can be identified into two cases: partial and complete. Complete dehiscence is when the entire wound opens up, showing the layers of skin and the muscles inside. This is considered a medical emergency, so call 911 immediately if you notice this happening in your wounds to prevent evisceration or protruding of organs through them.

On the other hand, partial dehiscence means that only a small part of the wound has opened up. While it may not be as serious as complete dehiscence, you still need to inform your surgeon about it and have it treated to avoid it from getting worse.

Here are the possible ways it can be treated:

  • Antibiotics: Open wounds mean a higher risk of infection from the outside environment. So, taking antibiotics will prevent microorganisms from spreading and infecting your organs and wounds.
  • Controlling Risk Factors: Your wounds may not easily heal because of the risk factors or other conditions you may have, such as diabetes. So, it’s important to take medications to maintain your blood sugar levels and resume the healing process.
  • Dead Tissue Removal: Dead tissues and damaged cells keep your wounds from healing properly. So, it’s necessary to remove them, especially if the wound separation can’t be repaired with gauze and tape.

Read Also: 8 Tips for Recovery After an Accident

Final Words

Surgical operations are meant to treat your medical conditions so you can continue to live your life without such complications. However, some surgeries may significantly affect your quality of life, especially if they are major operations and your condition is life-threatening, such as heart-related cases.

Also, every surgery has its risks, such as those discussed above. Most of them can heal on their own and be gone in a couple of days. However, if these symptoms persist, it would be best to consult your surgeon and seek medical care immediately.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5881575/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3637983/

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