When it comes to emergency procedures, 80% of deaths and 79% of complications come from just seven types of surgery:
- Partial colectomy – removal of colon or part of the large intestine
- Small bowel resection – removal of all or some part of the small intestine
- Cholecystectomy – removal of the gallbladder
- Peptic ulcer surgery – repairing ulcers in the stomach or small intestine
- Removal of peritoneal adhesions – removal of abdominal scar tissue
- Appendectomy – removal of the appendix
- Laparotomy – opening the abdomen to examine organs or remove tissue
If you need to remove your appendix or gallbladder, you should know that these procedures are relatively safe. They make it onto this list only because they are significantly more common than the others.
As for the others, if your doctors have determined that you need any of these surgeries, it is because the risks of not having the surgery are greater than the risks of going under the knife.
Laparotomies are one of the most dangerous types of surgery, with a 23% mortality rate. It involves making a large incision in the abdomen to access the organs inside.
The surgery is incredibly invasive and carries a high risk of infection. Fortunately, they are not very common. Most laparotomies are considered exploratory, meaning they are done to examine the organs directly and determine the problem. They are only performed when all other tests and options have been exhausted.
Total Intra-Abdominal Colectomy
A total intra-abdominal colectomy is the removal of your entire large intestine. It is a severe surgery with a mortality rate of 16% and results in complications 69% of the time. But it is also one of the least common surgical procedures.
The surgery is performed as a last resort when the whole large intestine has been damaged beyond repair.
Excision of Small Intestine
Any surgery involving the intestines carries a risk of infection due to the close proximity of the surgical site to fecal bacteria. Although the risk of death is relatively more minor (6.5%) for removing part of the small intestine, the risk of complications is high (47%).
This surgery is performed when diseased tissue or obstruction prevents the proper function of the small intestine.
Excision of Large Intestine
While total removal of the whole large intestine is rare, partial removal is relatively standard. Similar to removing part of the small intestine, this procedure has a 5.3% mortality rate and a 42.8% complication rate.
Partial removal of the large intestine is usually performed when colon cancer has made the tissues in the colon irreparable.
Suture of Hemorrhaging Stomach Ulcer
Stomach ulcers are sores that form on the lining of the stomach. They are usually identified and treated before they cause any severe problems. But sometimes, a small scratch in the tissues can worsen and cause heavy bleeding.
This surgery is performed to repair the ulcer and stop the bleeding. It has a 6.8% mortality rate and a 42% complication rate.
With any medical procedure, your care team will do everything they can to minimize the risks and ensure that you have a successful outcome. If you are concerned about the dangers of a particular surgery, talk to your doctors. They will be able to help you understand and make the best decision for your situation.