General Risks of Surgery

Modern surgery is generally safe however complications can occur. It is important that you have enough information to weigh up the benefits, risks and limitations of surgery. The following list is aimed at inform you and provide general surgical information. It is not intended to alarm you.

  • Wound infection which may require antibiotics
  • Pain and discomfort around the surgical sites
  • Blood loss during surgery which may require a blood transfusion
  • Bruising and swelling which can take 2-3 days to present and may take some weeks to resolve
  • Bleeding at the surgical site
  • Excess fluid under the skin, known as a seroma, which may require more drainage (aspiration) with a needle
  • Accumulation of blood around the surgical site, known as a haematoma, which may require drainage (aspiration)
  • Poor or slow wound healing with the possibility of wound breakdown
  • Scarring (hypertrophic or keloid) which becomes, and may remain raised, itchy, thick and red
  • Heart and circulation problems such as blood clots, which will require further treatment and can move to the heart or brain and can become life threatening
  • Chest infection which may develop after a general anaesthetic
  • Sore throat, usually caused by the breathing tube that is inserted during general anaestheic. This can persist for several days.
  • Nausea caused by the medications used for general anaesthetic
  • Numbness around the surgical site, usually temporary, and improves over months