Having surgery at some point in your life is almost inevitable.
Because of the risks involved in surgery, it is important to understand them before deciding if the procedure is right for you, especially if it is not an emergency.
It is very important to ask your doctor questions about your surgery so that you can understand the procedures and have peace of mind.
Here are some vital questions to ask your doctor before surgery.
1. What is the recommended operation?
Your healthcare provider should clearly explain the surgical procedure, including the steps to follow, and provide examples. He should ask if there are different methods to perform this operation and why he or she prefers one way over another.
2. Will this surgery solve the problem?
Will more surgery be required in the future? Ask your doctor to explain in detail why this procedure is necessary and how it will improve your overall health.
3. Are there other treatment options or is this operation the best option for me?
Your doctor should clearly explain the benefits and risks of these options so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not surgery is necessary. Sometimes “watchful waiting” is indicated whereby the doctor will monitor your condition over time to watch for changes and progression of a disease.
You may still need surgery, or if your condition improves or stabilizes, you may be able to postpone surgery. After a period of “watchful waiting,” it may be determined that surgery is still the best option.
4. What are the risks, benefits and possible complications of this operation?
Chances are, the risks have already been explained to you, but some information is worth repeating, and it’s never too late to ask more questions. Depending on the type of surgery, you may want to inquire about survival rates, potential complications, and how your body may react to the procedure.
5. What medications should I stop taking before surgery?
Will there be any changes to my routine medications? Will I need any special diet? When do I have to stop eating and drinking? Should I take my medication home the day of my operation?
If you are already taking certain medications before surgery, find out when to stop them ahead of time. In many cases, you will be given specific instructions on how to bathe and prepare your body in the hours leading up to surgery: for example, no shampoo, perfume, lotion, or makeup. These measures are vital for infection control during surgery and during your hospital stay.
6. Could you tell me about your experience with this operation?
Do you perform this operation regularly? What is your success rate? It’s not out of place to ask your doctor about his or her experience with the procedure you’re having, including the number of times it’s been done, and its history of success, as well as any complications.
7. What type of anesthesia will be administered?
Are sedatives or other medications required prior to the procedure? What are the risks of the type of anesthesia to be used?
Anesthesia is a state of temporarily induced loss of sensation or consciousness. It may include analgesia (pain relief or prevention), paralysis (muscle relaxation), amnesia (memory loss), or unconsciousness.
Your doctor should tell you the type of anesthesia recommended for your procedure and why. You should also ask who will be administering the anesthesia to confirm that they are highly qualified to do so.
8. What will recovery entail?
Once the surgery is over, it’s not necessarily business as usual. Are there activity restrictions (driving, sports, etc.)? What are they and for how long? When will you be able to drive again? When can you be intimate with your partner? When can you shower? Or resume your usual diet?