When preparing for surgery, many patients become tongue-tied when confronted with what questions to ask their surgeon before an operation. Because this can be an overwhelming time for any patient, below are a few of the most important questions to ask your doctor before going under the knife.
What is your medical diagnosis, and what treatment is being recommended?
You should know what exactly it is you are being treated for and what the treatment options available to you are. If you do not understand your illness or the procedure that is going to be done, keep asking questions until you do.
Why should you have surgery over another treatment?
Ask why surgery is your best option, and if there is anything particularly unusual about your case which you should be mindful of going into surgery. As a patient, you should be confident about your decision to have surgery and feel assured you are making the right move.
Ask your surgeon about his training and experience.
How often does he/she take care of patients with this problem? Is his team also well versed in the field? Knowing you are under the care of an experienced surgeon can help ease the anxiety of needed surgery in the first place. If the doctor is unavailable, it is important to know there is a knowledgeable staff that can assist you and answer questions about your case.
Is a special type of operation or technology being used in your surgery?
If yes, then you should ask why this is being used and what the benefits of it are over the traditional methods. This will give you more information about the surgery itself and help you understand why this surgeon is, or isn’t, the right one for the job.
What type of prep is required for the procedure?
It is important to know what you can do to ensure the best possible surgical outcome. Ask your doctor how you should prepare for the upcoming procedure. Do you need to follow a special diet or fast prior to surgery? Perhaps there is a meal regiment you should be following to lose weight before surgery, or strengthening exercises you can engage in to ease your recovery post-operatively.
What should I expect after surgery?
Ask how much pain is to be expected and what your dietary and physical restrictions are after surgery. You should be prepared for the days and weeks following surgery. Many surgeries require a leave of absence from work, or short-term limitations to the activities you are able to do. Unless you really like surprises, make sure you have all the details before surgery.
What are common complications of the surgery?
Ask your surgeon what signs and symptoms to look for after surgery that may indicate that something is wrong. Knowing what to look for can save a lot of time and possibly post-operative pain. Ask who you should call if you are experiencing a complication, and where you can get emergency care in the event it is needed.