I have in an article a sentence similar to:

High stakes in surgery call for great care

My supervisor says "high stakes" is too colloquial. Is this really so and if it is, what is a more formal way to say the same?

  • "Risky surgery calls for great care." – MaxW Feb 18 '16 at 15:51
  • 2
    Ask him if he would find "With a great deal at stake" too colloquial, as in "With a great deal at stake in surgery, great care is called for." – stangdon Feb 18 '16 at 16:16
  • @MaxW doesn't that slightly change the meaning of the sentence? – N A Feb 18 '16 at 16:17
  • Yes, it seems that I misunderstood. Maybe something like one of Peter's suggestions below: "The critical nature of surgery calls for great care." – MaxW Feb 18 '16 at 16:27

The risk of serious complications during surgery requires that great care be taken.

  • I ended up using risk of complications (including death). Thanks – Hennadii Madan Feb 19 '16 at 13:21

I believe that "High stakes" has become a normalised term but it is still a bit informal. If you want to get more formal you could say "High Pressure" or "High stress" environment and note that there is "little or no room for error".

"With very little room for error in surgery, great care is called for"


For your example, using phrasing like

The seriousness of surgery
The serious nature of surgery
The patient (mission) critical nature of surgery

would have a similar meaning and be more formal

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