If your doctor has recommended surgery as the most promising treatment for your condition or injury, a series of questions may come to mind that should be asked when considering your options. Whether you’ve had multiple surgeries in the past, or you’re preparing for your first surgery, different questions may arise that are personally important to you. There may also be enquiries that you wouldn’t even think to ask, and for that, a thorough list has been put together for you that may be helpful for you to keep on-hand during your next visit with your healthcare provider.
Helpful questions to ask before surgery –
- Why is this procedure being recommended? Are there alternatives?
- What are the benefits of this procedure in terms of pain relief, functioning/mobility? How long will the benefit last?
- What are the potential complications?
- What can I do to decrease my risk for complications?
- What is the success rate for this procedure?
- What is the procedure called? How is it done?
- Will this surgery solve the problem? Will any more surgery be required in the future?
- What percentage of patients improve following the procedure?
- What will happen if I don’t have the surgery now?
- Will I need any tests or medical evaluations prior to the surgery?
- 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?
- What kind of implant or prosthesis will be used? What are the outcomes using this device? How long will it last?
- Will I have pain following the procedure? What pain relief or pain control measures will I be given?
- 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?
- Will I have any disability following surgery? Will I need physical therapy?
- When can I return to work? When can I drive my car? When can I resume sexual activity?
- Are there any materials about this surgery that I can review?
Communicating your questions and concerns with your healthcare team is an important step in the quality of care you receive and should not be overlooked. Writing down the answers, having a friend or family member attend your appointments with you, or turning on your smart phone’s recording feature is very helpful when trying to recall what your provider said during your visit.