More than three million patients are admitted to hospitals for emergency surgeries every year. While that number may not be surprising, it may surprise you to learn that just seven types of emergency procedures account for about 80% of all these admissions, according to a recent report from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). It should be noted that heart-related admissions and surgical procedures performed due to trauma were not included in the study, as it’s widely accepted that traumatic injury is the leading cause of death in the first half of life (age 1-44).
So what are these six surgeries bringing people in for emergency surgery, and what do they involve?
6 Surgeries Bringing People into the ER
This is the removal of all or part of the large bowel, i.e. the large intestine or colon. Individuals have the procedure for a number of reasons, but generally because of complete bowel obstruction or uncontrolled bleeding. Often, colectomies are caused by factors such as colon or rectal cancer, ulcerative colitis, or inflammatory bowel disorders such as Crohn’s disease. In most cases, an opening called a stoma will be created near the belly allowing drainage to pass through into a colostomy bag.
2. Small Bowel Resection
Most digestion capacity, which includes breaking down and absorbing nutrients, is accomplished thanks to the small bowel, or lower intestine. When it becomes blocked or diseased, all or partial removal may be necessary. Often there is enough healthy intestine left, and the good ends on either side of the removed portion will be stitched together. If that’s not possible, a stoma will be created similar to that made in a colectomy procedure.
3. Gall Bladder Removal
The gall bladder helps digest and break down fats and nutrients found within bile. When things go wrong, however, gall stones may develop. Often described as the most painful experience on the planet, a gallstone can grow to the size of a golf ball. Because no one should ever have to pass that, gall bladder removal may be recommended. Thankfully, the procedure, known as a cholecystectomy, is minimally invasive and the body is able to function without it, redirecting bile to the small intestine without a pit stop in the now-removed gall bladder.
4. Stomach Ulcer Surgery
An estimated one in every ten people in Western countries will have an ulcer in the stomach or small intestine at some point in their lives. It happens over time, as bacteria, food choices, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) break down the stomach's defense system of naturally-created mucus, allowing acids to affect the stomach directly. Thankfully, the development of new drugs has made surgery less necessary, but ulcers continue to remain a top emergency procedure.
Some say the appendix is worthless; others believe it is a reservoir for bacteria that aids in maintaining health. Either way, it remains a top ER-admittance scenario. One in 20 people will get appendicitis, and although it can strike at any age, it’s most common between ages 10 and 30. Close to the large intestine and vulnerable to infection due to the accumulation of stool, bacteria, and other infectious material, an infected appendix can burst which releases infectious material into the abdomen, causing a deadly scenario.
6. Abdominal Adhesion Removal
When someone goes through any surgery, internal scars are felt behind. These inner scars—sometimes called “tough tissue”—band together to create cohesion between abdominal tissues and organs. But organs are supposed to be “slippery,” and if they become too stuck together due to abdominal adhesion problems can occur, such as obstructions due to the twisting and pulling within small or large intestines. Surgery is then critical, but not life-threatening when treated properly.
BandGrip for Emergency Surgeries
During emergency surgery, every second counts. Unfortunately, emergency medical professionals face many challenges when it comes to delivering effective care promptly and efficiently, especially in a busy ER. BandGrip is a non-invasive Micro-Anchor Skin Closure 3.5”x1.5” bandage that is designed for speed and ease of use (it can also be tiled for large incisions or lacerations). In emergency situations, it can be applied quickly to stop blood loss, one of the major causes of mortality in the emergency room. Learn more about BandGrip and the evolution of wound care here.