So you have a surgery coming up, what could possibly go wrong?

Wrong-side surgery is surprisingly common.  A study found that there are approximately 2700 wrong body part surgeries in the United States  a year.  That’s approximately 50 wrong body part surgeries a week, or about 7 a day.

Of patients who have wrong side surgery, about 30 percent have a permanent injury.

Wrong side surgery occurs in 1 out of 112,000 surgical procedures.

The most common wrong site surgery is surgery performed on the wrong vertebral level during spinal surgery.

Besides wrong side surgery on knees, hips, and shoulders, wrong side surgeries have occurred on the wrong side of the brain, the wrong eye, the wrong breast, and the wrong testicle.

What is going on to prevent wrong side surgeries?  Hospitals now use markers on the skin to mark the correct side, pre-surgical check lists, and “time-outs” where the surgical site is double-checked pre-operatively.

wrong side

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