Common Postoperative Complications

Grewal Law: Woman laying in hospital chair with an IV in her arm.

A complication in the medical world is something that was never supposed to have. Postoperative complications are issues that arise after surgery that were never supposed to happen. Some postoperative complications happen even when the most precaution is taken; however, when a doctor is negligent, the risk of postoperative complications arises.

If you plan on going under the knife, it’s essential to understand what you may deal with after the surgery. To help you prepare, our attorneys at Grewal Law PLLC put together a list of some of the most common postoperative complications patients may face after waking up—continue reading to learn more.


With anesthesia, it’s expected for the pain to be minimal during surgery. However, that’s not the case for many. Those who receive surgery on their stomach or chest tend to experience more pain than others. While medications are used to stabilize the pain, sometimes anti-inflammatory painkillers must be avoided as they can increase the risk of bleeding.

Breathing and Lung Complications

Another common postoperative complication involves breathing issues due to a blockage and then collapse of part of the lungs. Breathing complications are most common after surgery to the abdomen or chest. Due to the collapse, the lungs are more susceptible to infection because of the trapped germs.

Patients are also at risk of developing pneumonia or deep vein thrombosis, which occurs when blood clots form in the large veins in a patient’s pelvis and legs. The risk of blood clots becoming loose and ending up in your lungs, also known as pulmonary embolism, is a possibility after surgery.


According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, surgical site infections happen in about 1-3% of patients. Superficial incision SSIs happen near the area of the incision, while deep incisional SSIs happen beneath the incision, infecting the tissue and surrounding muscle. Organ or space SSIs happen anywhere in the body except the incision spot's muscle, skin, and surrounding tissue—this includes organs or even spaces in between organs.

While some infections arise as a person’s natural reaction to surgery and medication, other times, it can be due to the negligence of a healthcare professional. A healthcare professional can be found negligent if a patient’s injuries directly correlate to their failure to provide medication to treat the infection or pain.

If you believe that your postoperative injuries could have been avoided and were the direct cause of your injuries, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim. Reach out to our attorneys today at Grewal Law PLLC to see what options you may have when pursuing compensation.

Call us today at (888) 211-5798 or visit our website to get started on a consultation request form.
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