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Seemingly Simple Surgeries That Could Go Horribly Wrong  

Laura Allan
18.1k views 12 items

Let's be clear right off the bat: where there are medical procedures, there are risks. It's as simple as that. Of course, some surgeries are so easy and so common that the chances of you having any negative side effects are next to nothing. So you have nothing to fear, right? But just because the complications are uncommon doesn't mean they don't exist, and boy, are they frightening. These are seemingly simple surgeries that can go wrong, and a few of these common procedures are actually surgeries that can kill you.

From paralysis to rectal prolapse, there are some surgery side effects out there that you probably just don't want to think about. Or maybe you do. After all, curiosity is a very powerful thing.

So, which of these are surgeries that just have nasty possible outcomes and which are medical procedures that can kill you? You'll have to read on to find out. If you're brave enough, of course.

Wisdom Tooth Removal
Wisdom Tooth Removal is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Seemingly Simple Surgeries That Could Go Horribly Wrong
Photo: tj.blackwell/flickr/CC-BY-NC 2.0

Why You'd Get It: Your wisdom teeth are trying to destroy your mouth.

What Can Go Wrong: Most people have four wisdom teeth, although some lucky folks have none. Your wisdom teeth are located at the very back of your mouth, just behind your molars. Evolutionarily, they're vestigial; we no longer need them, which makes all the problems they can cause even worse. When they come in, they can become crowded, infected, and cause further medical problems. Generally, removing wisdom teeth is no big deal if done at the right time.

But let's assume you waited a long time to get your teeth removed, and they started to grow too large or fuse with your jaw. The roots could grow into your sinus cavity, or damage the nerves in your jaw. When this happens, the procedure becomes a serious one, where there's a risk of damaging your sense of taste or smell, and even a small risk of blood clot and death! For the regular, minor kind of wisdom tooth removal? Even then there's a chance that you could get nasty infections and feel severe pain around the site of the surgery. 

Tonsillectomy
Tonsillectomy is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Seemingly Simple Surgeries That Could Go Horribly Wrong
Photo: Internet Archive Book Images/flickr/No known copyright restrictions

Why You'd Get It: Your tonsils have forgotten which side they're on and want you dead.

What Can Go Wrong: You've probably heard of getting your tonsils removed, and you might have even had it done. The fact is, we don't need out tonsils to survive, and they can become swollen, painful, and infected. So a doctor goes in and simply removes them in a minor surgery. No big deal, right?

Well, as it turns out, you can actually die during a tonsillectomy. The tonsils are next to some pretty major arteries in your neck, and if one is accidentally cut, you can actually bleed out. Other horrible complications include trouble breathing, infection, nausea, vomiting, and permanent changes to your voice. 

Circumcision
Circumcision is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Seemingly Simple Surgeries That Could Go Horribly Wrong
Photo: GOC53/flickr/CC-BY 2.0

Why You'd Get It: Mostly religious reasons, or maybe cosmetic. 

What Can Go Wrong: Are you sure you're ready to read this one? Okay, here we go. This generally unnecessary, but simple, surgery consists of removing the foreskin around the head of the penis. It usually happens when a child is very young, and mostly happens without complication. But if there is a complication?

There can be infection or uncontrolled bleeding. The foreskin could be cut too short or too long, and the penis can be permanently damaged or disfigured. Complications from circumcision can even cause death! For a mostly cosmetic surgery, that seems pretty drastic. 

Appendectomy
Appendectomy is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Seemingly Simple Surgeries That Could Go Horribly Wrong
Photo: Internet Archive Book Images/flickr/No known copyright restrictions

Why You'd Get It: Your appendix is inflamed, swollen, and threatening to burst. 

What Can Go Wrong: Everyone has this little vestigial organ that hangs off the end of your intestines, called an appendix. Sometimes, the appendix can become inflamed and needs to be removed before it bursts and causes you to go septic. But the removal itself has a few serious risks.

Though it's a routine procedure, there can be uncontrolled bleeding, infection, and long-term digestion issues. Your bowels can even become gangrenous, which will slowly poison your body from the inside out. Unfortunately, death is a rare but real possibility.