5 things to ask before going under the knife
Surgery is a scary proposition. To put your body (and life) in the hands of another is quite the leap of faith. Especially because no matter how many fancy degrees and years of training that person has, no one is infallible. So if you have to undergo surgery, make sure you are informed and prepared to ensure the best possible outcome. Here are some questions that you may not think to ask when you see your surgeon.
1) Do I really need surgery?
What other treatment options exist? How successful is surgery compared to these alternatives? Do I harm myself if I delay or put off surgery? Can you recommend another surgeon for a second opinion?
2) How good are you?
How many years have you been in practice? How many of these cases do you do in a month/year? Do you have specialty training? Would you willingly give me the contact info of other patients who you have operated on?
3) How soon will I get better?
How long will I be in the hospital? How long will I need pain medications? When can I go back to work? When can I drive a car? Do I need rehab or therapy?
4) What happens if surgery does not go well?
What are the potential risks to surgery? Will I need another operation? Will I be permanently disabled or harmed? How often do surgeries not go as well as expected?
5) If I were your father/mother/son/daughter, what would you recommend I do?
Questions #1-4 are very important. Question #5 is the deal breaker.
To all the patients out there (including mine), best wishes for a speedy recovery!
Image credit: laaacs.org