EFFECTIVE haemostasis is vital for a successful surgical outcome because severe or prolonged haemorrhage can lead to critical blood loss, resulting in shock, hypoxia and death. In addition, bleeding obscures the surgical site, reducing the accuracy of the surgical technique; blood on drapes, instruments and gloves provides an ideal medium for bacterial growth and increases the likelihood of infection; and fluid that collects between tissue layers, resulting in haematoma or seroma formation, can delay healing by preventing apposition of tissues, interfering with the blood supply and inhibiting the influx of phagocytic cells to the area, encouraging bacterial growth. Therefore, it is important not only that surgeons are familiar with techniques available for achieving meticulous surgical haemostasis, but that they understand normal haemostatic mechanisms as well as diseases that affect haemostasis.
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