3 Common U.S. Surgical Procedures and Their Complications

The most common surgeries in the United States are so routine that many people do not think twice about their associated dangers. The majority of these common surgical procedures, in-patient and out-patient, are second nature procedures for surgeons. They complete them as a matter of routine, and most go according to plan. However, popular procedures also present risks that cannot be disregarded merely because of the frequency they are performed. Any time a patient’s body is exposed and in the hands of a surgeon, there is a chance for error or complication.

Some of the most common surgical procedures include:

  • Cataract surgery. Millions of cataract surgeries are performed in the U.S. every year, making it the most common surgical procedure of all. Most people (90%) start to develop some type of cataract problem. Between ages 75 and 85, the condition causes some degree of blindness in more than half of the population. Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye starts to develop a buildup that causes cloudiness. During surgery, an eye surgeon will typically go into the eye through the cornea and use instruments to break up and remove the clouded portion of the lens before replacing it with an implant.
    • Swelling, infection, bleeding, and fluid buildup are some of the complications associated with the out-patient surgery. One of the most serious complications that could occur during surgery or additional procedures is retinal detachment, which could leave a patient permanently blind.
  • Appendectomy. Surgeons perform around 280,000 appendectomies in the U.S. every year. Appendicitis occurs when the appendix, a half-foot long tube off the side of the large intestine, becomes inflamed and/or blocked. The condition can be incredibly painful and life-threatening if not quickly addressed. An appendectomy is the removal of the appendix and is considered the most common emergency surgery.
    • Some of the most common complications of the surgery include infection at the site of the incision or where the appendix was removed, surgical error-related injuries, gangrene, and bowel obstruction. If the appendix bursts during surgery, septicemia, a life-threatening condition, may immediately complicate the situation.
  • Cesarean section (C-section). Over a million babies are born in the U.S. each year via a C-section. An obstetrician may recommend a C-section for a number of reasons and may make the decision to complete an emergency C-section during delivery if needed. During the procedure, a mother’s abdomen is opened, typically through a horizontal abdominal cut, so that the baby can safely be removed. C-sections require a longer healing time than vaginal births, and the risk of complications may continue in the days after the procedure has been performed.
    • Unfortunately, there has been a rising concern about the recommendation of C-sections in the U.S. for low-risk medical reasoning. Complications may include infection and blood loss for the mother. Surgical injury and surgical implements being left behind in the mother’s body are also concerning. Unnecessary C-sections may complicate subsequent pregnancies for a mother.

Every surgical procedure, regardless of commonality, carries some risk of complication. Some complications are unavoidable while others are caused by medical negligence. There is no excuse for stitching a mother back up with a scalpel left in her abdomen. Performing surgical procedures when they are not absolutely medically necessary is another concern. These three common surgeries are very different in nature, but they all carry a level of risk if the person in charge of the procedure is not proceeding with a reasonable standard of care. If you have experienced an avoidable complication as a result of a routine surgical procedure, contact the Charleston, WV medical malpractice attorneys at Tiano O’Dell, PLLC today for a free consultation.

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