- Craniectomy- Any brain surgery will have the highest risk factor as well as complications. The brain controls every function of the body so any procedures in that area can be dangerous. This type of surgery removes a portion of the skull, which leaves the brain exposed. Complication can arise such as infection or damage to the exposed area of the brain. Damage to certain areas of the brain can lead to severe complications depending on which area is affected.
- Heart surgery- There are some heart surgeries that are high risk and can lead to complications. Any time a person has to be put on a heart-lung machine, the risk of surgery increases. Complications also may arise because the chest cavity is opened up which can lead to infection also. After the surgery, the patient must be carefully monitored in the intensive care unit.
- Bladder surgery- Cancer of the bladder usually requires part or all of the bladder to be removed. There is a high risk of infection after surgery of any kind in this area of the body. Any urine leaking into the body can cause serious complications as well.
- Pancreatic Surgery- Johns Hopkins has done a study that says there are complications in 41% of the surgeries of this type. The complications range in seriousness, but at least recently the mortality rate from the complications has decreased to 5-10%.
- Bariatric surgery or gastric bypass- There are a host of complications that accompany surgeries of this type. Patients are usually obese which has its serious problems that may outweigh the risks associated with bypass surgery. Because of the deteriorated health of the patient going into surgery, difficulties are usually expected and handles appropriately.
There are possible complications in any surgery that require a person to undergo general anesthesia. Patients can have complications with anesthesia during surgery. Although uncommon, sometimes people have reactions to the medication that is used to sedate a patient during the operation. Other problems may occur such as aspiration of food or fluid into the lungs, which can be very serious. There also may be blood pressure or heart rate issues. There could also be abnormal bleeding that may occur during the operation that would require a transfusion. Another complication could be the formation of blood clots due to inactivity during recovery. Most patients are given blood thinners to prevent this from happening. Of course, there also is a possibility of death during any procedure as well.
The proper procedure for any patient who is deciding whether to have surgery would be for the doctor to review all of the possible risks and complications. This informed consent allows the patient to make an informed decision on whether the benefits of the surgery are worth the risks involved.
Of course, the more serious the operation, the higher chance there will be any complications after the surgery. Many surgeries are a matter of life and death and of course are worth the risk, but the ultimate decision is up to the patient. It is the responsibility of the entire medical community to make sure the patient is completely informed and understands all of the possible ramifications of having the procedure performed.