Gastrointestinal perforations happen for many reasons, including appendicitis and diverticulitis. It may also occur because of trauma to the intestines, though, which is possible during certain types of surgeries.
Your surgeon may have warned you about the risk of gastrointestinal perforations or not. If not, then it's important that you speak up and explain that you had no idea of this potential complication, which should have been explained to you prior to your operation.
Gastrointestinal perforations can lead to peritonitis, or the inflammation of the membranes that surround your abdominal cavity. This lining may swell and heal on its own in some cases with small perforations, but in other cases, the hole can result in bacterial, bile, stomach acid, stool or partially digested food entering your abdominal cavity. Those foreign items can result in severe peritonitis and potentially sepsis if not treated promptly. Both can become life-threatening conditions.
If you are suffering from this condition, you may have symptoms including a fever, vomiting, nausea, stomach pain or chills. Chills, vomiting and fevers are all particularly obvious signs of a problem, which could be an infection. The abdomen may also seem harder than normal and stick out more than usual. It generally feels worse when someone palpates the area or when you move.
If you're suffering from this condition, immediate medical attention is needed. Not getting help quickly can result in swelling and inflammation that spreads, the development of sepsis and other major, life-threatening complications. Our site has more information on what you can do if you've been left in pain from a surgical error.