Sunday, April 5, 2009

Reasons for cancellation

Even if it gets to the stage where the pain is too much and you opt for a knee replacement, sometimes things get in the way.
It can be very disappointing to have your surgery cancelled at the last minute after making the mental preparations and rearranging your life.
Here I will list a few of the events that occur and the reasons for the operation not going ahead.

1) If you have a cold or are unwell the anaesthetist may deem you unfit for surgery. In other cases they may not be happy to give you a general anaesthetic but may suggest an epidural instead. It is his / her job to keep you alive so although hard to take, this one is definitely for the best.

2)Skin integrity. If you have any cuts or abrasions in the vicinity of the knee your surgery may be cancelled due to the higher risk of infection. Our skin is our best barrier against infection so lay off the gardening before your date.

3)Low priority. Your knee replacement is called 'elective surgery'. If your hospital also sees Trauma patients they will get priority over you. In theory, you can come back tomorrow or next week, they can't. Even if you are at an Elective only Hospital, sometimes surgery ends up more complicated than expected. If this happens to someone before you, you may get bumped off the list.

4)Staff sickness. Surgeons, Anaesthetists and Nurses get sick too. If no suitable cover can be arranged, the list is off.

Thankfully these events do not occur often, but if it does happen to you, try to remember it was for a reason.

After all, when you have your surgery you want the best people there, at the top of their game, and with you in the best shape possible.

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