Postoperative complications

Post-operative complications are defined as unexpected or unusual outcomes that occur following care.

Postoperative pulmonary complications prolong hospitalization and increased mortality.

More than 30% of patients undergoing surgery lasting at least two hours with general anesthesia and mechanical ventilation may experience postoperative pulmonary complications.

Common post-op complications:

Nausea and vomiting from general anesthesia.

Sore throat caused by the endotracheal tube.

Pain, and swelling around the incision site.

Restlessness and sleeplessness


Constipation and flatulence.

Shock caused by blood loss, infection, spine injury, or metabolic problems.


Wound infection

Deep vein thrombosis.

Pulmonary embolism.

Lung problems

Urinary retention

Reaction to anesthesia


Atrial Fibrillation

Paralytic Ileus

Pulmonary complications contribute to perioperative morbidity and mortality in a similar level to cardiac complications.

Pulmonary complication rates are higher in surgeries in the upper abdominal, thoracic, and head and neck areas due to the impact on respiratory mechanics.
Patients should be evaluated for pulmonary disorders, including functional status, assessing for obstructive sleep apnea and hypoventilation syndromes.

Not all post-operative conditions are complications, and there is no time limit for the development of a complication.

Up to 18% of patients with obesity undergoing surgery have postop pulmonary complications, which is almost 2 times the risk of normal weight or overweight patients.

The perioperative period consists of three phases: preoperative time from decision to undergo an operation until the beginning of the surgical procedure; operative time during the operation and immediate recovery from the recovery room stay; and postoperative time extending from after the patient leaves the recovery room, throughout hospitalization and posthospitalization up to 30 to 60 days.
((Enhanced recovery after surgery)) uses evidence-based practices to achieve early recovery after surgery, reduces the number of postoperative complication and avoids readmissions.

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