Can I Still Have Surgery While Having Stage Four COPD?

I have seen this statement on our community and a lot of you joined in the conversation and shared your stories of having surgery or not being able to handle surgery. I feel this answer depends on and is going to be different for everyone and that there are many factors that go into answering this.

Not all people who have stage four COPD are the same. I would think that it would be on a case-by-case basis including the type of surgery, recovery, if you have a caregiver to help you recover and I am sure there are other factors that I’m probably forgetting.

Potential postoperative complications and COPD

This does not mean that there may not be some risk factors that can go with it but it still may be able to be done. Some risk factors for people with COPD are a little bit more than someone with a normal lung function but every surgery has a risk for anyone involved. Of course this is all on a case-by-case scenario and you should always discuss risk factors with your doctor.

Postoperative complications that are more likely when you have COPD include:1

  • Lung infections such as pneumonia
  • Sepsis
  • Pneumothorax
  • Respiratory failure
  • Slow or impaired wound healings
  • Hypoxia
  • Blood clots and pulmonary emboli
  • Cardiac arrest

Personal experience with surgeries and procedures

I myself have had a surgery and a few procedures done. In 2015 I had a hysterectomy. I did pretty well for the surgery, but they did put me on a bipap right after surgery because I was retaining so much oxygen.

I wish could use that bipap every day. I breathed so much easier after using it. I used it the rest-of that day but by nighttime they took it off of me.

I have also had a couple of procedures. I have had a couple of colonoscopies and a bronchoscopy. I know I wasn't put under in quite the same way for these, but I handled those well.

In early 2023, I had surgery to remove a parathyroid and a thyroid and I did great for that surgery. No problems with that. Of course, it didn’t take as long as the hysterectomy, but I was just as worried.

Balancing concerns and health benefits

I was very nervous for all of these procedures, but my doctors reminded me how important each one was. If I felt any of these were not necessary or wouldn’t help my health in the long run, then I wouldn’t have done them. I think we have to become pretty picky about what we will or will-not do.

I hope this article doesn’t scare or discourage others to have surgery if it is something that you need. I just want to show you that you need to weigh all or options and you just need to decide what is best for you in the long run.

Have you had surgery with stage four COPD or trying to decide to have surgery? Please share your thoughts with us below.

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