Right. Let’s talk consent.
As surgeons, we need to get informed consent from you before doing any procedure or operation. This is important to make sure you fully understand the risks and complications that may occur during surgery.
Part of this understanding is knowing that all surgery involves some degree of injury or stress to the body and healing is part of the process. In addition to healing, each operation has its own set of specific risks and your unique physiology may give rise to certain complications. Take colon surgery as an example. When a segment of colon is removed during surgery, the two ends need to be joined up. Your surgeon needs to use impeccable surgical technique when stapling or suturing the bowel ends together, but once you’re back in the ward, the join area needs to heal. This involves a complex process of inflammation, cell migration, matrix-formation and cellular activity. If there’s even a small break in the joined colon wall, bowel content will leak out and cause severe peritonitis, which requires urgent surgery to remedy.
I tell all my patients that, while I’m expecting a smooth, successful surgery, I can’t guarantee that no complications will arise. However, I can guarantee that your wellbeing is my top priority and if there are any unexpected turn of events, I’ll take care of it.