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J R Soc Med. 1988 January; 81(1): 7–9.
PMCID: PMC1291417

Reoperative surgery for early complications following abdominal and abdominothoracic operations.


In-hospital mortality was 9.6% in 3000 abdominal and abdominothoracic operations carried out by me or under my care. Intra-abdominal complications developing during the recovery period required reoperation in 141 patients. The decision to reoperate was a clinical one in 97.8%, although investigations were often helpful in localizing the site of the complicating lesion: the mortality in this group was 42.5%. Technical failure at the first operation could be indicated in 46%. Leaks and bleeding were most frequent and carried a high mortality. Patient selection and preparation, and selection of the simplest effective procedure, are not yet capable of being fully assessed in an individual patient.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • LOWDON AG. Emergency re-operation in abdominal surgery. J R Coll Surg Edinb. 1959 Jul;4:291–304. [PubMed]
  • Tera H, Aberg C. Relaparotomy. A ten-year series. Acta Chir Scand. 1975;141(7):637–644. [PubMed]
  • Harbrecht PJ, Garrison RN, Fry DE. Early urgent relaparotomy. Arch Surg. 1984 Apr;119(4):369–374. [PubMed]
  • Pollock AV. Laparotomy. J R Soc Med. 1981 Jul;74(7):480–484. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Couch NP, Tilney NL, Rayner AA, Moore FD. The high cost of low-frequency events: the anatomy and economics of surgical mishaps. N Engl J Med. 1981 Mar 12;304(11):634–637. [PubMed]

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