Transfusion-free Surgery

Surgeons can use a combination of surgical techniques, medication, and equipment to perform surgical procedures without blood transfusions. This type of transfusion-free surgery is an option for some patients who are concerned about the safety, availability, or cost of donor blood; or those who for personal or religious reasons do not wish to receive transfusions.

Transfusion-free surgery is not for all patients or procedures. Some procedures that can be transfusion-free include:

  • Knee or hip replacement
  • Organ transplants
  • Tonsillectomies

Preparation for Surgery

To prepare for transfusion-free surgery, the surgeon completes a patient history, physical exam, and screening tests to identify bleeding tendencies. Before the surgery, a patient may be given medications that increase red blood cell production, enhance blood clotting, and reduce bleeding.

During Surgery

During surgery, the surgical team uses techniques such as reducing blood pressure and reducing body temperature to eliminate the need for a blood transfusion. The team also uses surgical equipment that minimizes blood loss and promotes better coagulation, such as a harmonic scalpel.

After Surgery

The patient is closely monitored for post-operative bleeding. Any bleeding is treated before significant blood loss occurs.

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