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Having surgery can be essential for a number of different reasons, and there are a lot of things that you should expect when it comes to the surgery experience. Now, there are a lot of different things that can happen to your body during the surgery process, and here is what you can expect:

1. You’ll need to be prepped

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One of the first courses of action when you are going to have surgery will be preparing you for the actual process. This will involve getting you into a gown, if needed, ensuring your body is ready for the procedure and that enough time has passed since you last ate a meal.

2. You’ll be placed under an anesthetic

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When you are going to have surgery, an anesthetic will almost always be required to ensure your body is ready for what follows to ensure you do not feel the procedure. You could get a general or local anesthetic depending upon whether surgeons require you to be entirely unconscious during the operation or just numb the feeling in a certain area.

3. Preoperative room

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Just before you actually start surgery, you will be shown to a preoperative room in the surgical area, just outside the operating room. You will have to confirm your details and the type of surgery you’re having, and your vitals will be checked by the care team.

4. Family members may know more about your body than you

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Something that will often happen when you have surgery is that your family members will typically end up knowing more than you. Once you come around from surgery, a lot of time might have passed, and during this time your family members will have spoken to doctors and surgeons about the procedure.

5. It’s unlikely you’ll remember much

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Another thing that is likely to happen when you have surgery is that you will probably not remember a ton about the procedure. The anesthesia, combined with the intensity of the process, might make you a bit groggy and fog up your brain, which can cause you to forget a lot of details.

6. Muscle relaxation

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One of the side-effects of receiving anesthetic induction is that your muscles will relax. This is a key part of the surgery process because it makes it much easier for the surgeons to perform their procedure once the muscle relaxation kicks in, and results in less trauma for the body.

7. Draping

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Once you are on the operating table, you will undergo safety checks and your body will be covered with medical cloth drapes in all areas, except for the site in which the surgery is going to be happening. This keeps your body covered and sterile, and prevents you from being too cold.

8. The area will be cleaned

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Surgery requires the most healthy and sterile environment possible, and this means your body will need to be cleaned. The care team will ensure that the area of your body that needs to be operated on is clean and hygienic and ready for the procedure.

9. Incisions might need to be made

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Depending upon the type of surgery you are going to be having, it might be necessary for the surgeon to make incisions on your body. This incision will be stitched back up later once surgery is finished, but it could wind up leaving a scar on your body once all is finished.

10. Haemorrhaging

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In most cases, surgery is going to be fine, and everything is going to go smoothly without any problems. However, there might be complications during the surgery process, and haemorrhaging (which refers to rapid blood loss), is something that can occur if there are difficulties.

11. Your oxygen levels will be monitored

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During the surgery process, your body’s vital statistics will need to be monitored to make sure they are at the correct levels. Getting a clip on your finger during surgery is going to provide the most accurate measurements of your oxygen levels to ensure they are correct.

12. Blood pressure will be checked

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It is also important to make sure that everything in your body is working the way it should be, and your blood can reveal a lot in this regard. During most bouts of surgery, you will get a cuff on your arm so that your body’s blood pressure can be routinely checked and monitored.

13. Your heart will be working hard

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Because of the fact that you are having surgery, this could be pretty intensive, and you might even be under anesthetic. As such, it means that your heart might need to work a little harder than normal, so pads will be placed on your chest to keep tabs on your heart rate over the course of the procedure.

14. You might need help breathing

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Depending upon the type of surgery you are undergoing, as well as whether or not you are under general anesthetic, your body might need assistance when breathing. If this is the case, you will be fitted with a mask and you can breathe gas through this mask.

15. Tissue dissection

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Surgery can be a complicated process that requires a lot of accuracy, and this is going to be essential for ensuring everything runs smoothly. A big part of this comes with tissue dissection, the process of using surgical instruments to separate and access tissue in the body.

16. Buildup of fluid

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In some cases your body may develop a buildup of fluid during the surgery process, especially if it’s something that is going to take a long time. In this instance, tubes might be inserted into the body in order to drain off and remove the excess fluid, improving health and well-being, and making the surgery simpler.

17. Temperature fluctuation

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Your body temperature is likely to fluctuate during the surgery process, especially if you are under general anesthetic. If this happens, the team will take steps to heat or cool you throughout the surgery in order to maintain the right body temperature and make you more comfortable.

18. Blood transfusion

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If you wind up losing a lot of blood as a result of hemorrhaging, this could present problems during surgery. In this instance, it is likely that the medical team will consider a blood transfusion, to help replenish your body’s blood that has been lost, and keep you from experiencing further problems.

19. A scope might be inserted

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With some forms of surgery, it may be necessary for the surgeon to see inside your body and look at your organs. This is essential for planning the surgical procedure, as well as understanding any internal issues that need to be addressed. This is typically referred to as an endoscopy, where a small camera is passed into your body via a natural opening.

20. Surgical stress

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If you have had surgery regularly, there are a few concerns that you might have, and one of the main issues with repeated exposure to anesthesia and surgery is that your body can undergo surgical stress. The impacts of this can lead to a number of endocrine and metabolic changes.

21. Surgical adhesions

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When you undergo surgery, especially if this has become a common thing in your life, your body could experience surgical adhesions. This refers to the scar tissue that forms on your body after any cut or incision or damaged tissue; this scar tissue can cause complications in the future.

22. Strangulated bowel tissue


This is one of the complications that can arise as a result of buildup of scar tissue. The clues is literally in the name here – the bowel is getting strangulated, which can cause what’s known as ‘small bowel obstructions.’ This can prevent still from passing through the rest of your intestine, and can cause long-term issues if not addressed promptly.

23. Blood clots

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The more surgery you have, the more susceptible your body will be to blood clots. This can happen as a result of frequent surgeries leading to a more sedentary lifestyle, but also from laying on the operating table for a long period of time, which can cause your blood to settle and pool, making a clot more likely.

24. Nerve damage

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Depending on the type of surgery you’re going to be having, it could be that your body experiences nerve damage. In some cases this will be unavoidable, and can have long-lasting ramifications, most notably with chronic pain, which can lead to further health conditions, and negatively impact quality of life.

25. PTSD

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Though this is bound to impact the mind more than the body, the trauma of certain surgeries can lead to long-lasting issues like PTSD that will affect your mental and physical well-being. This can harm quality of life, and your overall health, so you need to use strategies to help you with recovery.

26. Biopsy

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In some cases, it might be necessary to have surgery in order to assess the body and figure out if preliminary testing was right in flagging potential issues. A biopsy is one such example, where tissue samples are collected from the body for analysis, in order to identify or rule out possible chronic illnesses like cancer.

27. Tumor removal

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If you are diagnosed with cancer and it is in the early stages, surgery is a great way of treating and working toward curing the cancer. One of the best and most effective ways of being able to treat this is by having a tumor or tumors removed from your body during surgery.

28. Organ transplant

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Something else that could happen to your body during surgery could be an organ transplant. This is a very intensive and important surgical process, and if you have a damaged organ, it will be necessary to have surgery, where the diseased organ is replaced with a healthy one whilst you’re under anesthetic.

29. Your wounds will be dressed

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During surgery there will need to be incisions made in order to treat the issues that need to be treated, and this means sterile coverings and wound dressings well have to be applied to protect incisions and to guard against the issue of infection and complications.

30. Guarding against sepsis

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When you are having surgery, your body produces fluid in response, and this fluid can collect in the abdominal cavities, which can lead to infection and sepsis. The surgical team will mitigate this risk by monitoring for signs of systemic infection, and treating it by administering antibiotics.

31. Pressure ulcers

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Though these are not hugely common, on occasion it is possible that patients undergoing surgery are prone to developing pressure ulcers during the surgical procedure. This is something that, according to studies, typically develops in about 12% of surgical patients, although the number is thought to be as high as 57%.

32. Applying a tourniquet

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If you are undergoing a procedure that involves incisions, and there is a risk of hemorrhaging, the surgical team will likely take measure to apply a tourniquet. This is something that is used to temporarily stop blood flow in limbs, and reduce the risk of clotting and other problems.

33. Repositioning

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As the name might suggest, repositioning refers to the mid-surgery process of repositioning the patients body in order to gain access to areas that might be hard to access in their current position. Providing optimal access to the surgeon is essential for allowing them to do their job effectively.

34. Your heart rate may fluctuate

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Something else that might happen to your body when you are undergoing surgery is that your heart rate might fluctuate. If your body starts to go into cardiac arrest, the medical team could well use cardiac defibrillation in order to shock your heart and help it restore normal rhythm.

35. Decompression

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There might be cases where there is a lot of pressure on particular areas of the body, and this can be found during things like spinal surgery. In this case, steps will be taken to try to relieve the pressure via the process of decompression, which is going to reduce the risk of problems and issues long-term.

36. Stent placement

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If your surgery requires a vessel or duct to be supported, a stent placement will help with this. This is the process of inserting a tube into said vessel to provide support. Stents are also used in an emergency to widen arteries that might be narrowed due to the buildup of fatty plaque.

37. Risk of brain swelling

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Depending upon the type of surgery you are having, you could experience brain swelling, which can be very dangerous. In order to combat this risk, the surgical team will use intracranial pressure (ICP) monitoring, where a device is placed inside the head to monitor pressure inside the skull.

38. Removing plaque from arteries

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As we known, in some cases, arteries can become clogged up with plaque, and this can cause health concerns moving forward. So, one of the things that can be done to combat this during surgery is something called an endarterectomy, which is a procedure to remove plaque buildup in the arteries.

39. Thoracentesis

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Thoracentesis is the process of removing fluid or air from around the lungs via the insertion of a needle through the chest wall. Buildup of fluid or air can be very serious, and might lead to a pulmonary endemic, which can be fatal. So it is essential that this is dealt with as quickly and effectively as possible.

40. Your skin may be grafted

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Transplanting skin to cover wounds is something else that can be done to your body during surgery. This process involves transplanting healthy skin from unaffected areas, and using it to cover lost or damaged skin. This can be used for a number of different skin conditions, can be done for aesthetic or medical reasons.