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Surgical Revisions

April 16th, 2009

There is a saying among surgeons, “If you don’t operate, you will not have complications.”  The same can be said of  surgical results.  On occasion, the results of surgery  do not go according to plan.  All surgeons have surgical results which sometimes disappoint them.  Occasionally the result requires secondary surgery to improve on the outcome.

The causes of less than optimum results are complex.  Complications such as unwanted bleeding or infection may occur.  Sometimes patients do not follow after care instructions as carefully as they could.  Pre-existing medical conditions may also interfere with healing and scarring.  The surgical design may just not work out for a particular patient.  Generally, the final outcome is a combination of some or all of these.  It really is a shared responsibility and must be remembered as such.

Revision surgery is difficult.  Not only must the surgeon contend with previous surgical scarring but must also deal with changes in anatomy.  Feelings of disappointment and possible mistrust by the patient are not to be over-looked. Expectations of perfection may present the burden of unrealistic results.

Results are rarely perfect.  The decision to have revision surgery is usually based on the likelihood of possible improvement weighed against the risk of making things worse.

Finally, often small improvements are always the most difficult to achieve.  I know this sounds counter intuitive, but I find that to be true.

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