The mention of surgery invariably scares patients, though minor surgeries are often essential to address common problems and accidents that may crop up in our lives. Many people simply avoid such surgeries as unnecessary hassles. They prefer to dabble in home cures and treatment. Many consult non-physicians too. But all this can do more harm than good.
But avoiding timely surgeries, minor problems can become complicated. Many minor surgeries do not even require the patient to be admitted to hospital. These do not even require rendering the patient fully unconscious. But unwarranted delays or non-expert treatment can lead to danger.
When the skin is subject to an abrasion or small injuriy, this can lead to germs accumulating, resulting in a boil. Sometimes this can happen while walking barefoot or handling instruments with bare hands. Sometimes it is hard to determine how the boil actually comes about. For diabetic patients or for other reasons when a person’s resistance decreases, germs can spread from one affected part of the body through the blood and create a boil in another part of the body.
If pus accumulates in a boil, it certainly must be operated upon. Antibiotics are not enough. Delay can lead to further complications. If there is no accumulation of pus, then surgery is not required. Whatever the case may be, if a boil appears, a physician must be consulted immediately. If the patient is diabetic, there can be no delay at all. Repeated appearance of boils can also be a symptom of diabetes.
Carbuncles are similar to boils. But like a boil has one ‘head’ where the pus accumulates, carbuncles have many. These normally appear at the back of the neck and on the back. This can occur in the case of elderly people or people with lower resistance due to malnutrition, diabetes or other reasons. Surgery is essential for carbuncles.
When secretion of sweat glands is blocked, the skin may swell in a certain place. This is a sebaceous cyst. Germs can gather in this cyst and it can become a boil. If germs accumulate in the cyst, surgery is essential. It is better to have this surgery as soon as possible to prevent the infection from spreading.
If nails are not cut properly or cut too deep, are not kept clean, or if shoes are a misfit, ingrown nails can form. This creates pressure inside the toe. It can be painful and the toe can swell up. This requires surgery to remove the nail partially or entirely.
AZM Mostaq Hossain, surgery department, Anwar Khan Modern Medical College Hospital