Questions to Ask Your Surgeon

Millions of surgical procedures are performed all over the world every year. These procedures can range from a relatively simple outpatient surgery — such as lancing a boil — to a complicated procedure that requires an extended hospital stay, such as open heart surgery. Regardless of the type surgery that you need to have performed, there are important questions you should ask your surgeon before the day of the surgery.

Asking your surgeon the right questions can help you to understand all of the benefits and risks associated with the surgery. The answers can help you to decide if surgery is the appropriate option for your situation. In addition, performing some due diligence can also help you to have a more positive outlook because you know the specifics of the procedure and what you can expect for your recovery period.

What is my Underlying Condition?

Your surgeon should have a clear, precise answer to this question. Ensure that the doctor can show you the source of your medical problem. This question is especially important if the surgery is highly invasive or risky. The doctor should be able to produce tests that show the problem area, such as a CT scan.

What is the Procedure?

Ask your surgeon for a detailed explanation of the surgery process. Insist on non-jargon language and examples so that you can fully understand the process. The surgeon should also include the benefits of the surgery and potential complications that may further complicate your current medical condition.

How Much Experience Does the Surgeon Have?

You should retain a surgeon who is very comfortable performing your particular surgery. Not only does he need experience performing your procedure, but he should also have a high success rate with other patients.

What Alternatives are Available?

Have a candid conversation with your doctor about any alternatives to surgery that are available. As long as the surgery is not critical to your long-term health or survival, your doctor should clearly outline the risks and benefits of non-invasive alternative treatment options.

What is my Recovery Time?

You need to know how long your recovery is likely to take so that you can make preparations to commit the necessary time to get better. The estimated recovery time should include the time it would take to resolve any unforeseen complications as they arise.

If you feel unsure about an upcoming surgery or the surgeon performing the procedure, it is always a good idea to get a second opinion.