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Health A-Z

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Harvard Medical School

Risks

You will have a small straight scar (less than an inch long) wherever the instruments were inserted. You may have some discomfort for a few days in the areas of the incisions. Sometimes work in the middle chest can temporarily injure a nerve, which can weaken your vocal cord muscles for a while and cause hoarseness. In rare cases, bleeding complications might require a transfusion or larger chest surgery. Air leaks from the lung can also occur and occasionally require additional treatment such as a drainage tube, called a chest tube, that is placed into the chest between your ribs and left there for a few days.

General anesthesia is safe for most patients, but it is estimated to result in major or minor complications in 3%-10% of people having surgery of all types. These complications are mostly heart and lung problems and infections.

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