Unexpected and, as a rule, preventable postoperative complications make up a large part of the mortality which follows deliberate operative procedures on persons in good general health and presumed to be reasonable surgical risks.
These complications are at least in a considerable measure avoidable and, having arisen, assume serious aspects in proportion to the lateness with which they are discovered and adequately treated.
Perhaps the simplest and least fatal but most annoying postoperative complication is wound infection, particularly in the clean undrained wounds. Explanations of postoperative fevers without obvious cause should be first sought in the wound itself, and in a large number of cases will be found to be due to localized accumulations, many of which can be cared for by early drainage without further involvement of the wound. A method which I have successfully employed to discover these small localized inflammatory areas early is, with sterile precautions, to
LAHEY FH. THE MANAGEMENT OF SOME COMPLICATIONS FOLLOWING ABDOMINAL OPERATIONS. JAMA. 1927;89(21):1735–1738. doi:10.1001/jama.1927.02690210001001
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