What are the emergency signs to look out for after a surgery?

Dr. Dean Kane Q & A. 7K0A0116Q. What are the emergency signs to look out for after a surgery?  A. This is a very complicated question and requires pre-operative education and counseling from your surgeon.  While uncommon to rare, there are general post-surgical concerns and side-effects or complications. Ask your surgeon what other issues you should consider consistent with the surgery you have planned. In general, you should call 911 for emergency care following surgery if any of the following occur:
  1. Fainting
  2. Lack of urine output with or without dizziness
  3. An obvious red rush of bleeding from an incision or body opening
  4. Chest pain or difficulty breathing
  5. Chest pain with radiation of pain to the neck, either arm, back or upper tummy
  6. A severe and acute headache or loss of vision
  7. Palpitations
  8. And any other concern that makes you physically or mentally unstable.
  9. Alert your surgeon you are going to the emergency room but let the EMT’s evaluate you and take you, not a care-giver or family member.
Urgent concerns for which you should contact your surgeon for urgent evaluation include:
  1. High fevers
  2. A sudden change in pain at the surgical site
  3. Sudden pain in an area not operated on such as the calf, thigh, pelvis, abdomen, chest or head
  4. A sudden change in shape or symmetry of the surgical site and / or increasing drainage from a incision or drain site.
  5. Increasing redness, heat  or tenderness at the surgical site
  6. Separation of the incision
This is not a complete list of concerns. You will need more instructions regarding the surgeons expectations of your post-surgical care and recovery. The vast majority of surgical and minimally invasive procedures go smoothly but this is a good beginning question to review with your physicians. All the best! Sincerely, Dean Kane, MD, FACS  
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