Millions of Americans will undergo a surgical procedure at some point in their lives. Before you go under the knife, talk to your doctor about what to expect.
From knee replacements to wisdom tooth extractions, many surgical procedures help to correct problems and boost a patient’s quality of life. However, as the patient, you have the right to understand your surgery and why your doctor is recommending it. Before you undergo surgery, ask your doctor these questions to put your mind at ease.
“Why do I need this operation?”
Ask your physician to explain why this surgical procedure is the best solution for your problem. Invasive surgeries should be their last resort—in other words, it’s a solution when other less invasive treatments don’t work.
If your doctor jumps right to surgery without trying non-invasive treatment options first, you would be right to be skeptical. An unnecessary surgical procedure may further complicate your treatment.
“How many of these procedures have you done before?”
You’ll feel better going into surgery if you know the person holding the knife has plenty of experience. Are they a specialist? Do they have additional training to perform these types of procedures? Talk to the doctor about their background and any relevant board certifications they may have.
“What are the risks and benefits of this surgery?”
Have your doctor lay out a list of pros and cons for you. They should have ready access to your medical history to discuss any specific concerns you may have. A high-quality physician will be honest about potential risks and complications while reassuring you of the upsides to the surgery.
“What can I expect going into surgery?”
If you’ve never experienced a surgical procedure, ask your physician about the process, including anesthesia. They’ll walk you through your anesthesia options, as well as what to expect on the big day. Depending on the procedure, you may be required to fast for several hours beforehand.
“What will my recovery look like?”
Get an idea of what your “after” will feel like before you make any decisions. Will you need to take time off work? Will your surgical site require specialized care as it heals? Prepare yourself for post-surgery life as early as possible by gathering plenty of information from your doctor.
While surgery can be an anxiety-inducing experience, it can also do wonders for your overall health and quality of life. Ask your doctor these questions before you go into surgery; after all, knowledge is power. The more you know about your procedure, the more informed your decisions will be.