FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q- If blood transfusions are supposedly so bad why don't all surgeons accept this fact?
Consider the case of Ignaz Semmelweis, the physician who discovered the relationship between surgeon's dirty hands and mortality rates. Surgeons of his day refused to wash their hands, even after handling dead bodies. A doctor could go from the morgue to the operating room without washing his hands. Semmelweis connected the dots and insisted that surgeons were, in effect, killing patients by their unsanitary practice.They simply needed to wash their hands.
Semmelweis insistence that these deaths were due to a lack of cleanliness was simply unacceptable to the learned and educated men of his day. His observations went against all scientific 'facts'. The theory of disease was based on ideas of an imbalance of the basic "four humours", a theory known as dyscrasia.
Every university trained surgeon knew that diseases were spread by "bad air". Semmelweis' unconventional idea —'that harmful infectious particles could sit in minuscule amounts on fingers' — was heresy. It simply contradicted the truth.
He was ridiculed by the medical community in spite of the fact that the hand washing protocols established in his wards reduced mortality rates by astonishing factors. He had the proof, less people were dying than in conventional hospitals, but couldn't prove it. He couldn't explain exactly why because germs had not yet been discovered.
The refusal by doctors to wash their hands based on emotion and tradition verses scientific fact - they felt that their elevated status as gentlemen meant that their hands could not possibly be dirty like common laborers.
[For those who might say that something similar couldn't happen today, remember that it wasn't that long ago that physicians endorsed smoking as beneficial.]
Do you see the parallels between his situation and that of the Bloodless Surgeon today? The scientific community accepts as fact that blood transfusions are beneficial. Surgeons refuse to believe that their procedures are harming people and, in fact, causing the deaths of some of their patients.
Bloodless Medicine is often ridiculed as having no basis in fact. Emotions rule the day for those mired in tradition as they ignore or refuse to believe the mass of data collected that proves that blood transfusions are harmful, risky and increase post surgical mortality, in some cases five-fold.
For more information on Ignaz Semmelweis see the Wikipedia article on his life. He was eventually exonerated when Louis Pasteur discovered germs. But in the intervening years countless thousands died unnecessarily because of the stubborn refusal of surgeons to accept Semmelweis' protocols.
Q- Is blood type important to consider when choosing bloodless surgery?
A- No. Bloodless Surgery is for people with all different blood types.
Q- Should I have a blood test before I have bloodless surgery? Will I lose precious blood?
A- Your surgeon will decide. Ask him about microsampling – a procedure that reduces blood loss. This link may help. microsampling
Q- Are there some Children’s hospitals that are better than others for bloodless surgery?
A- MyBlood’s policy is not to endorse any particular hospital. Check our Bloodless Hospital List – Children’s Hospitals
Q- Are there bloodless surgeons that perform plastic surgery?
Q- I need weight loss surgery – is there a bloodless hospital that can help me?
A- We are not aware of any Bloodless Hospitals or surgeons that perform this specific procedure using Bloodless Surgery techniques.
Q- Will I need special physical therapy after bloodless surgery?
A- Of course, all surgeries are different. Having Bloodless Surgery should generally not create a need for any special therapy. The type of surgery, whether it is Bloodless or not, and the condition of the patient will generally determine weather physical therapy will be needed.
Q- Is there a university hospital that has a bloodless surgery program?
A- Many. Please check our Bloodless Hospital List.
Q- Is there a NY Hospital with a bloodless surgery program?
A- Many. Please
Q- Is there a community hospital with a bloodless medicine training program for nurses?
A- Not that we are currently aware of.
Q- Can I have a bloodless hysterectomy?
A- Any surgery can be performed using Bloodless Surgery techniques. The techniques used in a Bloodless hysterectomy is safe. A specific person's operation may present more risks than the next. We can not comment on your specific surgery and the risks involved.
Q- Is bloodless knee surgery possible?
A- Yes. Any surgery can be performed using Bloodless Surgery techniques. Check Our Bloodless Hospital List under Joint Replacement.
Q- My mother is on a diabetes diet, is there a special bloodless surgery diet?
Q- Are blood transfusion safe?
A- Almost everyone who collects blood says yes. What do others say? This link may help: risks
Q- Is blood donation safe? Can I get harmed?
A- The odds are very, very low, but it is possible to contract a number of blood borne diseases if the technician is not careful. (Think third world countries in particular.) Frequently donating blood does not harm your immune system as some have believed, according to many sources. But one needs to consider the harm that may come to others who receive your blood. Even though your own blood may be disease free there are many other considerations to think about, as this website has pointed out.
Q- What are the odds of getting Hepatitis C if I get a blood transfusion?
A- According to one source the odds are 1 in 4,500 units. An average blood transfusion uses more than one unit. So the odds per transfusion, if the source is correct, is quite high.
Q- Are there special bloodless surgery techniques for cosmetic surgery?
A- None that we are aware of. Contact : Trinitas Regional Medical Center
Q- Can you recommend a plastic surgeon that specializes in bloodless surgery?
A- No. MyBlood’s policy is not to endorse any particular hospital, doctor or surgeon.
Q- If I have diabetes, type 1 diabetes or diabetes type 2 should I be concerned with bloodless surgery?
A- People with diabetes certainly have Bloodless Surgery but each individual case is unique. Inform your surgeon or hospital of your condition long before your surgery. Also, note this important information on your advance medical directive.
Q- Do I need a special diet before undergoing bloodless surgery?
Q- Is there a Bloodless Surgery Association similar to the American Medical Association?
A- At present it appears that there is not. There is the Society for the Advancement of Blood Management.
Q- If I suffer from extreme obesity can I undergo bloodless surgery?
A- While extreme obesity complicates everything, including surgery and recovery, overweight people and obese patients all have undergone Bloodless Surgery. Check with your surgeon about your specific situation.
Q- Since sugar affects diabetics can it complicate my blood somehow and affect the outcome of my bloodless surgery?
A- If you have high blood sugar, diabetes symptoms or have been diagnosed with a diabetes type (juvenile diabetes, gestational diabetes, diabetes 1, diabetes 2 etc.) you should inform your Bloodless Surgeon. He and his team need to know all about your medical condition. With 20,000 to 30,000 Bloodless Surgeries performed in the USA every year, and given the huge number of diabetics in that country, it would seem likely that patients with all of the above conditions would have had Bloodless Surgery - but we do not know of a medical database that keeps track of this information.
Q- What role does nutrition play in preparation for bloodless surgery?
Q- Can I get a tummy tuck and go bloodless?
*No Guarantee of similar results
A- Check here: Trinitas Regional Medical Center
Q- What is a blood bank?
Q- What about low blood sugar and bloodless surgery?
A- Certainly, patients with hypoglycemia have Bloodless Surgery. As with any surgery, be sure to notify your surgeon of all of your medical conditions.
Q- What is the average number of units of blood transfused per transfusion?
A- The answer depends on the type of surgery. Statistics vary; 2.2 units for some CABG surgeries; 5.1 for cancer patients; and as high as 7.7 for bone marrow graft recipients.
Q - I have had a coronary artery graft bypass following three heart attacks, is bloodless surgery an option for me if I need another CABG?
A - Check with your surgeon for an explicit answer in your specific case; but as a general answer - certainly. All types of surgery are performed using Bloodless Surgery techniques. Many hospitals specialize in CABG and perform Bloodless Surgery. See our Bloodless Hospital List – Coronary …
Q- I have high cholesterol – should I be especially concerned about this when undergoing bloodless surgery?
A- Ask your doctor for an explicit answer relating to your specific case; but as a general answer - no. All types of surgeries are performed using Bloodless Surgery techniques on people with multiple health problems – including angina, heart disease and other common conditions afflicting Western society.
Q- My father had four heart attacks, my mother had two. I’m afraid that somehow bloodless surgery might increase my chance of a heart attack. Is that true?
A- As a general answer: it should not. Bloodless Surgery, when performed by a specialist and a well trained team is safe. But there are many different techniques used by Bloodless Surgeons including embolization, hypothermia, hemodilution and hypotensive anesthesia - which lowers blood pressure below normal. Inform your surgeon of your complete medical history and condition and of your fears.
Q- What is bloodless medicine? Is it some sort of pill or pharmaceutical drug that I need to take before having bloodless surgery done on me?
A- Bloodless Medicine is a term that has evolved to define or describe Bloodless Surgery – that is surgery that would normally be performed using blood and or whole blood products but that is performed without these blood products – and all of the related medical procedures surrounding Bloodless Surgery. Bloodless Medicine has evolved from a niche in the medical field and has entered mainstream medicine.
Q- Will bloodless surgery increase the likelihood of heart attack symptoms? I mean should I even be worried?
A- Generally speaking, no. Bloodless Surgery is known, in general, to be safer than traditional surgery where blood transfusions are involved. In fact, new evidence is strongly suggesting that a blood transfusion increases the chance of a heart attack, stroke and post surgical mortality.
"Patients who received blood transfusions had higher rates of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, and even death."
Duke Med News Oct 8. 2007
Q- What about heart disease and angina and a bloodless operation, what’s the deal?
A- As a general rule Bloodless Surgery can be performed on people with these ailments. But for specific answers to those conditions we refer you to the American Heart Association. -American Heart Association
Q- Can bloodless surgery increase the possibility of a stroke?
A- We are not aware of this happening in general. But, of course, each patient is unique. New research indicates that Bloodless Surgery actually does the opposite. It reduces the chance of stroke. reference link Whereas there is strong evidence stating that Blood transfusions increase the possibility and likelihood of having a stroke.
Q- My daughter has cerebral palsy – is she still a candidate for Bloodless surgery?
A- We cannot address your daughter’s specific problem. But patients with CP have traditional surgery where blood is administered. It seems unlikely that patients with CP would do worse with Bloodless Surgery since the benefits far outweigh the risks - when speaking of the general population.
Q- My grandson has a neurological disorder - should we forget bloodless surgery and opt for traditional surgery?
A- The risks and benefits of all types of surgery should be weighed. The type of surgery that one chooses is a personal decision. Speaking in general, there are hospitals listed in our Bloodless Hospital List that specialize in neurological disorders. It should not be difficult to find such a hospital and get specific medical advice for your grandson. There are over ten Bloodless Children’s Hospitals as well in our database.
Q- A guy at work told me I could get an aneurysm if had bloodless surgery – true or not?
A- An aneurysm is an abnormal bulge or ballooning in the wall of an artery. It’s very hard to imagine how Bloodless Surgery could cause such a problem. Some patients with aneurysms have had Bloodless Surgery and do fine. Perhaps he had in mind the Trendelenburg position which places the patient flat on the back, putting the patient on a downward slope. The chest and head are lower than the abdomen and legs. Maybe he was concerned that extra pressure exerted on the upper part of the patient would increase the possibility of an aneurysm rupturing. A skilled surgeon will know when and when not to use the Trendelenburg position. A patient with an aneurysm should certainly inform his/her surgeon of such a medical condition.
Q- A nurse friend in neurology said bloodless surgery killed a patient - I’m skeptical but can this happen?
A- This seems unlikely. Surgical patients die for many reasons – both those who receive blood and those who do not. Since the worldwide medical community is now praising the benefits of Bloodless Surgery and since hospitals around the globe are instituting bloodless programs as opposed to eliminating them it would seem that the claim that bloodless surgery killed a patient is based on emotion, ignorance or prejudice. This link may help. - World Health Organization
Q- My little kid brother has Multiple Sclerosis but needs a kidney removed – any special concerns?
A- MS, in general, should not be a deterrent for most patients wishing to have Bloodless Surgery. As always, seek qualified medical advice.
Q- Is brain damage a possible side effect of bloodless medicine?
A- There does not appear to be any solid scientific evidence to support this claim. Rumors about Bloodless Medicine have circulated for many decades but since it has gone mainstream these types of rumors seem to be abating. The evidence is that Bloodless Medicine reduces the odds of a whole range of sever reactions. -World Health Organization
Q- I have HIV. Don’t want to give it to anyone - can you guide me? I need a operation…
A- Tricky situation. Inform your doctor. There are many Bloodless Surgery Centers worldwide. Speaking for the Bloodless Community your concern for others should be praised. Especially since HIV is transmitted through blood products. -World Health Organization
Q- I was told I could get a brain clot from bloodless surgery – I think the answer is no but thought I’d check it out.
A- Research does not support this claim – at least when speaking of patients in general. What happens to any given patient on any given day is unpredictable. Check with your surgeon and do your own research on the subject.
Q- My life partner has a mild cardiovascular disease – and needs surgery – will he bleed more than normal if he has hemodilution?
A- That is a specific question that needs to be addressed by his/her surgeon who knows his/her medical condition. Speaking in generalities - and using the history of Bloodless Medicine as a whole – a general answer would be that thousands of patients with cardiovascular problems have Bloodless Surgery. Dozens of hospitals with Bloodless Surgery Centers have performed thousands of Bloodless Heart Surgeries with sterling success. Heart patients actually do better when they avoid blood transfusions. Their condition improves as opposed to worsening. -Science Central
Q- Someone at work swore that there mother got Aphasia after she got a bloodless operation. Can this happen?
A- Aphasia is a disorder that results from damage to portions of the brain that are responsible for language. - It would be imprudent to answer the question not knowing all the details of her surgery. Certainly patients who are administered blood during surgery as well as those who do not run certain risks. All surgery, Bloodless or not, incurs risk. But the evidence is now accumulating yearly and is saying that, in general, Bloodless Surgery is safer than traditional surgery where blood is administered.
It seems that when any new procedure is introduced in any field there are always naysayers and doomsday predictions. When anything associated with the new procedure goes wrong the procedure itself seems to get blamed. True scientific progress is not based on the negative observations of skeptics afraid of change but on facts established by pioneers and courageous people willing to turn their backs on what is perceived to be established truth and who forge ahead despite the cries of those mired in tradition.
Q- I have had multiple strokes and more than one TIA – is bloodless surgery for me?
A- Not to address your specific case, MyBlood does not give medical advice, but in general it seems that someone with your condition should especially be interested in Bloodless Surgery since it is becoming generally accepted that Bloodless Surgery reduces the chance of post operative strokes.
Q- Will I need special physiotherapy or rehabilitation after a bloodless procedure – for my heart.
A- Your doctor will answer this question for you. In general, Bloodless Surgery in itself does not create a special need for physiotherapy or rehabilitation though the type of surgery that you have may.
Q- Can a bloodless procedure give me a blood clot or worsen one?
A- This probability appears to quite low if impossible. Nothing in the medical literature supports the assumption. However, who can rule out the impossible? Every patient is different. But if a Bloodless Surgery technique ever caused or worsened a blood clot we would appreciate being notified of the occurrence. There are over 3000 articles in the medical literature highlighting the risks of blood transfusion and there are scores more stressing the benefits of Bloodless Surgery. In general, the medical benefits appear to far outweigh the disadvantages. But that is speaking in general. It is said that statistically speaking the average human has one breast and one testicle. So averages and statistics must be weighed carefully.
Q- Does a having surgery without a blood transfusion worsen my hypertension?
A- An excellent question. From the standpoint of the general patient population, No. How a specific medical procedure affects any individual is out of the realm of humans to answer with 100% accuracy. However, many patients who suffer from hypertension have Bloodless Surgery successfully. As with any medical procedure, check with your doctor. -American Society of Hypertension
Read our disclaimer.
*MyBlood does not dispense medical advice. If you have specific medical problem you need to consult a physician. The answers presented here are for general educational purposes.
To keep our lawyer’s happy the questions above are composed from composite situations and people – to protect our readers, the public and our corporate identity.