Which Surgical Procedures Are the Most Dangerous?

It is common for individuals who are rushed to the hospital to find out that they need immediate surgery. While they may think that this means that they will soon be on the mend, it is important to also realize that every surgical procedure carries risks. Some of these risks include blood clots, anesthesia, bleeding problems, and other complications.

However, there are some surgical procedures that are considered to be more dangerous than others, as a single act of negligence could turn your life upside down forever. Even though you may not be able to reject a surgical procedure if your life depends on it, you should know which ones can present the greatest risks.

Brain surgery

One of the most dangerous procedures is any type of surgery on the brain or skull. In fact, one of the riskiest surgeries that is often performed on the skull and brain is called a craniectomy. This type of surgery requires the doctors to remove part of your skull to help release swelling, bleeding, and pressure that the brain is experiencing.

After the surgery is complete, the surgeon will leave the portion of your skull that they removed open to ensure that all the swelling goes away. Doctors who see patients with head injuries that cause this type of swelling and pressure must make the tough decision to perform a craniectomy. They usually only decide to do so if the patient is in dire need and may not survive without this surgical procedure. Once the doctor believes all the swelling has gone down, they will return to the operating table to close the skull back up – but this can take time, and may require an artificial bone replacement.

Another dangerous type of brain surgery is a craniotomy. This type of surgical procedure also requires the doctor to remove a portion of the skull. The goal of craniotomies is to treat patients’ epilepsy, tumors, blood clots, and other issues affecting the brain. Once the procedure is complete, the piece of the skull is immediately replaced.

These surgeries are known to carry high risks, such as seizures, infections, blood clots, swelling, hemorrhaging, strokes, and more. Therefore, doctors must spend a great deal of time monitoring patients who undergo craniotomies, which can take several months to recover and heal from.

Heart surgery

Any type of incision or repair made to your heart is very serious. However, one of the riskiest heart surgeries that a person can undergo is open heart surgery. This type of surgery requires patients to be hooked up to a machine that will do the heart and lungs’ jobs for them, which includes circulating blood around the body, removing carbon dioxide, and ensuring that the body is still receiving oxygen. It is important to note that your heart is completely stopped while you are hooked to this special machine, which is why the surgeons will need to make sure that the machine continues to work effectively at all times. A few different types of open-heart surgeries are heart defect repair surgery, heart bypass surgery, and heart valve surgery.

This surgery is dangerous because your heart and chest are open, which can result in deadly infections. Many patients who underwent open heart surgery a few years ago filed lawsuits against the manufacturers of machines that were being used during their surgical procedures because the machines were blowing out small particles into the air that went into the patients’ chest, causing infections. Serious complications that may occur after heart surgery are organ failure, strokes, loss of blood, blood clots, breathing problems, heart attacks, and more.

Cancer surgery

When patients are diagnosed with cancer, one of their options may be to have the cancerous tissues removed or destroyed. As a result, they must undergo cancer surgery in which the surgeon will open up the area of the body with cancer and remove all or as much of it as possible. Two of the most dangerous cancer surgeries are breast cancer surgery and lung cancer surgery. However, the various risks of any type of cancer surgery include infections, extended periods of fatigue, blood clots, uncontrollable bleeding, chronic pain, and diminished organ function.


Washington, D.C. is known for having a few top medical centers and facilities that provide transplants to patients. People from all over the country travel to our city to undergo transplant surgical procedures every day. Transplant surgery allows for the healthy organs of one person to be transferred to another person. This type of surgery is one of the longest and most complicated surgeries that doctors perform. Some of the riskiest transplant surgeries include heart transplants, kidney transplants, liver transplants, lung transplants, and more.

Spinal cord surgery

The University of Maryland Medical Center explains that any surgery near or on the spinal cord can lead to severe and life-threatening complications. The reason for this is because the spinal cord is tissue that can easily be permanently injured if anything goes wrong. Therefore, the surgeon must be very careful around the nerves and tissue that make up your spinal cord, ensuring that no mistakes or errors are made. Some of the most common complications that emerge from spinal cord surgery include infections, anesthesia issues, chronic pain, blood clots, sexual dysfunction, and more.

What if my doctor made a mistake during my surgery?

Although most patients are given a list of possible risks before they undergo surgery, no one ever prepares to wake up and find out that their doctor made a mistake while they were on the operating table. A mistake in and of itself, therefore, may not rise to the level of malpractice. However, if a surgeon or member of the surgical team is negligent, you may have a potential medical malpractice case on your hands.

Please contact Paulson & Nace, PLLC through this contact form or by calling our office.

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