Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Bloodless Surgery Program

What is Bloodless Medicine and Surgery?

Bloodless surgery is a team approach to surgery that avoids the use of blood transfusions. A bloodless surgery program utilizes a variety of techniques and resources to minimize blood loss, save and re-infuse as much of a patient's own blood as possible.

Patients choose bloodless surgery for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Religious convictions: Jehovah's Witnesses, for example, avoid blood transfusions and seek bloodless surgery and alternative bloodless treatments.
  • Medical reasons: Patients who have had previous blood transfusions or individuals with certain medical conditions may be unable to receive blood transfusions.
  • Personal concerns, such as the possible risks associated with donor blood like adverse effect on the immune system, blood borne illnesses, allergic reaction; or adhering to a patient's right to choose alternative treatments.

Why Houston Methodist for Bloodless Surgery?

Houston Methodist is among a select but growing number of bloodless surgery hospitals in the country offering bloodless medicine programs.

Our bloodless surgery techniques and strategies make it possible to perform some of the most complicated procedures – from joint replacement to heart bypass – with minimum blood loss, avoiding the need for donated
blood and improving patient outcomes. Bloodless surgery is part of a broader Blood Management program at Houston Methodist that ensures the most efficient use of blood products hospital-wide. Our standard of care for all
patients at all times is to minimize blood loss whenever possible.

Benefits of Bloodless Surgery

While historically requested primarily for religious reasons, today bloodless surgery strategies are being used to advance medicine and improve outcomes for all patients.

Benefits include:

  • Reduced risk of complications
  • Reduced risk of an allergic reaction to donor blood
  • Reduced risk of an adverse effect on the patient's immune system
  • Improved patient outcomes
  • Faster recovery
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Reduced reliance on regional and national blood supply, increasing availability for trauma patients
  • Promotes appropriate blood utilization

How is Bloodless Surgery Achieved?

Bloodless surgery does not mean there is no blood. It refers to special strategies and techniques that are used before, during and after surgery to conserve the patient's blood and avoid the need for transfusion.

Examples include:

  • Pre-surgery: Prescribing medications, supplements and lifestyle changes to increase the patient's blood level
  • During surgery: Using special anesthesia strategies and surgical equipment to minimize bleeding and conserve blood
  • Post-surgery: Minimizing blood draws and rebuilding blood counts through medications and supplements