Questions To Ask Before Surgery

Dr. Lilley with a patient

If you or a loved one is preparing for an upcoming surgery, it is important to be informed about the surgical procedure that is being recommended. Making the decision to have orthopedic surgery requires careful consideration and a solid understanding of what your procedure and recovery will entail.

Below is a thorough list of important questions to ask your healthcare provider before surgery.

  1. Why is this procedure being recommended? Are there alternatives?
  2. What are the benefits of this procedure in terms of pain relief and functioning/mobility? How long will the benefit last?
  3. What are the potential complications?
  4. What can I do to decrease my risk for complications?
  5. What is the success rate for this surgical procedure?
  6. What is the procedure called? How is it done?
  7. Will this surgery solve the problem? Will any more surgery be required in the future?
  8. What percentage of patients improve following the procedure?
  9. What will happen if I don’t have the surgery now?
  10. Will I need any tests or medical evaluations prior to the surgery?
  11. What kind of anesthesia will be used? Are there possible after effects or risks? Will I meet with the anesthesiologist in advance? Will he or she know my needs/allergies?
  12. What kind of implant or prosthesis will be used? What are the outcomes using this device? How long will it last?
  13. Will I have pain following the procedure? What pain relief or pain control measures will I be given?
  14. How long will the recovery take? What are my limitations during recovery? Will I need assistance at home afterwards? For how long? What will discharge instructions be?
  15. Will I have any disability following surgery? Will I need physical therapy?
  16. When can I return to work? When can I drive my car? When can I resume sexual activity?
  17. Are there any materials about this surgery that I can review?


  1. If you are confused on any responses from your provider, ask questions until you gain a better understanding.
  2. Take notes or ask a friend or family to come with you and take notes.
  3. Ask your provider if they have any instructions or printed materials with more information on your procedure. (Some of The Center’s providers have links to their instructions on their profile page).

If you would like to learn more about your provider, visit their profile page under “Meet Our Doctors”. There you will find more information on their credentials, specialties, and their other clinic locations. Many also have a short video introducing themselves, explaining their specialties, and sharing what led them to become a healthcare provider.