Abdominal surgery - top tips to prevent complications

14 Nov 2019
IVC Referral Theatre

But first, do no harm… This is an essential principle to be followed in each and every surgical procedure. In a decision making, we should judge the potential risk/benefit ration and understand all the consequences, should anything goes wrong. To be successful, we must adopt an ability to explain all the aspects to the owner, so he is able to accept responsibility. Potential complications should be discussed before and not after the surgery. The background (both technical and theoretical) for surgery must be sufficient enough and communication must be adequate and comprehensive throughout the hospitalization and thereafter, if needed. Surgery is a teamwork, so all the staff involved must be at the "same page" at all times. During surgery, avoid incisions too small and do not rush. Surgical procedure must be conducted properly, as well as post op care. It is a good idea to biopsy any unexpected macroscopic abnormality. You can discuss submission of samples later. It is good idea to take pictures and keep the documentation for later times. Surgical report should be short but comprehensive.
Written instructions for the owner must be clear and comprehensive. Surgeon should be available for consultation in case something goes wrong. The owner must be aware that complications do happen and we are ready to deal with them whenever necessary. Whenever you do not feel safe to operate, refer the case; you will end up as a hero.

  • - Good communication at all times
  • - Essential information about the patient
  • - Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)
  • - Adequate anaesthesia
  • - Basic steps of each procedure should be followed (avoid shortcuts)
  • - Thorough abdominal exploration is a MUST
  • - Obtain biopsy samples in case of abnormality
  • - Postoperative hospitalization in most cases (24 hrs at least)
  • - Analgesia and pain scoring
  • - Discuss the cases with others, share experience
Michal Vlasin, Small Animal senior Surgeon - Vale referrals Dursley, IVC

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