Understanding the Risks Involved When Having Surgery

Whether your prospective surgery is necessary or elective, there is always a risk attached. Before deciding if you are happy to undergo a surgical procedure, however, it is important that you are fully aware of the risks involved, so that you can make an informed decision. Here, we have highlighted some of the major risks that are associated with surgery.

Excessive bleeding

Bleeding is an inherent part of any surgical procedure, given that an incision into the body must, generally, be made.

If during a procedure, however, a patient begins to bleed excessively, surgery may be halted or a blood transfusion administered. While this is an uncommon occurrence, it does entail complications, especially for some religious groups.

Jehovah’s witnesses, for example, are forbidden from accepting a blood transfusion and must discuss this with their surgeon, prior to the surgery taking place, in order to ensure that no religious or ethical transgressions are inadvertently made.

Blood clotting

Patients who undergo any form of surgery are considered extremely high risk when it comes to blood clotting.

Blood clots can begin to form in the area of the body where the surgery took place, but it is far more common for blood clots to form, post surgery, as a result of inactivity. Research indicates that the increased risk of blood clotting could last for up to 12 weeks after surgery.

If left untreated, blood clots can potentially have fatal consequences.


The skin provides a natural barrier to infection. It is logical, therefore, that any incision in the skin automatically increases the chance of infection in the human body.

Although conditions in an operating theatre are as sterile as possible, any bacteria that are present are given free rein to enter the body, while the procedure is being undertaken. Patients are given a course of antibiotics before and after surgery, in order to reduce the risk of infection. The risk, however, still remains a very real one.

Scarring or delayed healing

Each person’s body reacts differently to surgery. For some, the healing process is straightforward and can be quite rapid; the swelling goes down and the scars fade quickly. For others, however, surgery can lead to severe scarring and delayed healing.

It has been scientifically proven that those who suffer from vascular or immunodeficiency conditions, as well as diabetes, recover significantly slower than the general population. This delay in recovery makes this portion of the population more susceptible to illness, as well as long term scarring.


While a majority of surgeries are straightforward, this does not mean that surgeries do not carry the potential for the development of unforeseen complications.

An operation on the stomach, for example, could lead to intestinal complications, which may be treated during the same surgery or, if they are not picked up until later, could lead to secondary surgery being required.

While some complications are quite easily treatable, some can have potentially life altering or deadly consequences. Brain or spinal surgery, for example, carries with it an inherent risk of paralysis, while in the case of emergency surgery, undertaken as a result of an accident, the risks associated can be fatal.

Medical negligence

While any surgery is performed only by highly trained, medical professionals, there are some cases, every year, of medical negligence on the part of surgeons. If, after surgery, you feel that you have been mistreated in some way and your life has been negatively impacted as a result, it’s best to contact a medical negligence solicitor straightaway, as they will be able to advise you on the best way to proceed.