Low Body Temperature After Surgery

Submitted by Nick on October 18, 2012

Human beings are warm blooded animals. The entire body and its organ systems are designed to operate efficiently at a temperature around 98 degrees Fahrenheit. There are small variations that take place throughout the day that raise or lower the body temperature marginally. However, these variations are usually within 1 degree. The body uses an extensive mechanism for thermoregulation. Heat is generated in the body during the process of metabolism. This process uses food and oxygen to produce energy in a chemical reaction. Heat is one of the by-products of the process. Heat produced during metabolism is transported around the body in the blood. When the body becomes cold, the blood vessels constrict to allow the heat to be maintained in the core of the body. When the body is warm, blood vessels expand, allowing more blood to flow to the extremities of the body. This allows for the dissipation of heat through the skin surface. Sweating is a way of accelerating the heat dissipation process as this causes evaporation which causes cooling. The body has various organs that send information about heat or cold to the brain which then controls the temperature using endocrine glands.

Low body temperature after surgery is a condition that affects many patients. Surgery is an invasive process that can have a shock-effect on the body of the patient. In any case, an individual at rest will have a slightly lower body temperature than one who is awake. Coupled with this, most surgery rooms are air conditioned and tend to be very cold. Surgery also causes blood loss. In some cases, surgery is performed to remove some organ or organ system from the body. Therefore, low body temperature after surgery is caused by a combination of these factors as the body struggles to maintain its temperature levels while healing the wounds of surgery. Furthermore, low body temperature after surgery is related to medication that is given to the individual before and during the procedure. Add to this, the lack of activity on an operating table means that there is slow metabolism and low heat generation in the body.

Low body temperature after surgical treatment means that the patient needs to be properly covered with heated blankets so that the temperature is maintained in the hours after surgery. Low body temperature after surgery can cause complications if it is not treated properly. Within a few hours, the individual usually regains the ability to regulate his or her temperature as the effects of the anesthesia wear off.

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