Be it medical or cosmetic, elective or necessary, having surgery is never a pleasant experience. Pain, fear, anticipation, and nerves all lead to an intense process both emotionally and physically. What questions should you ask before going into surgery? Compiled are ten great questions to ask your surgeon before going under the knife.
Table of Contents
- How much experience do you have?
- What things should I have at home to help ease the recovery process?
- How accessible will you be after surgery?
- If a complication arises, is there someone available for emergency calls?
- What is the worst possible outcome?
- What is a realistic timeline for recovery?
- Will anyone else be performing the surgery?
- How long will I need the assistance of another person?
- Have you been disciplined by the medical board or sued for malpractice?
- What are my options for pain management?
How much experience do you have?
While it may seem cliche, one of the most important questions to ask your surgeon is about the experience they have with your surgery. The answer tells you about the surgeon’s training. It can help allay any fears you have about the procedure. It’s much easier to trust someone when you know they have a lot of experience with the procedure you’re about to undergo.
What things should I have at home to help ease the recovery process?
Hopefully, your surgeon has a lot of experience in the procedure you’re about to undergo. They may be able to offer some helpful and unusual suggestions of items to have in your home post-surgery to make your recovery a little easier. You will want to get the best surgical supplies available.
How accessible will you be after surgery?
Accessing your surgeon after surgery seems like it should be a relatively simple process. But depending upon where you’re receiving your procedure, this can vary greatly. In a hospital setting, you will likely see your surgeon at a post-op appointment and be cared for the rest of the time by nursing staff. Some people may find this unsettling. Others, however, may appreciate being cared for by someone who routinely helps those in recovery while some may prefer someone they know personally as opposed to any medical professionals altogether.
If a complication arises, is there someone available for emergency calls?
Depending upon the type of procedure, it will significantly affect how the surgeon handles emergencies. If you were sent home the same day from surgery, you might find comfort in knowing that your doctor is only a phone call away should an emergency arise and that you won’t be required to sit in an emergency room for hours before being seen by a physician.
What is the worst possible outcome?
While no one likes to think of the possible bad things that can happen, it’s best to prepare when going into surgery for the worst possible outcome. You will be able to fully assess all the risks involved in surgery and help you prepare for a longer recovery if necessary.
What is a realistic timeline for recovery?
Everyone’s body heals at a different rate. It’s essential to know before going into surgery what a realistic timeline is for your recovery. Things that play into this would be age, health, and the type of procedure. Discussing what the average recovery looks like versus extreme positive and negative outcomes will help you be prepared and more calm going into surgery.
Will anyone else be performing the surgery?
If you’re having surgery at a teaching hospital, your surgeon may supervise but not perform the surgery. A procedure done in a surgery center may be performed by any qualified surgeons there, just not the particular one you spoke to beforehand. If knowing who is performing your surgery is crucial to you, this is a great question to ask ahead of time.
How long will I need the assistance of another person?
Chances are, if you have gone under anesthesia, you will probably not be able to leave the hospital alone. You may not be able to drive or take care of yourself after surgery. Knowing ahead of time how long you will need the assistance of another person allows you to plan and give your caregiver time to make arrangements.
Have you been disciplined by the medical board or sued for malpractice?
No one likes to think that they have a bad doctor! Asking questions about disciplinary actions and malpractice can help you feel more comfortable going into surgery. Doing your research will also assure you that you get the best possible care.
What are my options for pain management?
Discussing your options for pain management before surgery if you have any concerns now is a great time to voice them, or if you come from a history of addiction and don’t want certain types of pain medication, this is the time to let your doctor know.