The idea of surgery will bring feelings of nervousness to the stomach of anyone. Whether it is just a simple operation or a complicated procedure, surgery is not for the faint of heart. Luckily, most doctors, nurses, and medical professionals have your best interests at heart. Don’t feel hesitant to ask them any and every question that you may have concerns about. For many people, that can be tough. Often times patients do not do their research and do not ask their doctor questions before their procedure. So then this leads to the next question, what sort of questions should patients be asking?
Weiss & Paarz enlisted the help of a number of health professionals to weigh in on the best questions to ask before a procedure in order to help reduce feelings of nervousness. Rebecca Lee, a registered nurse, says, “Ask about follow-up appointments. You might not see your surgeon for a few weeks after your surgery.” After surgery, many patients may find that they’re not scheduled to report back to their doctor for several days, or even weeks. It is best to invite a friend or family member along with you to your pre-surgery consultation to help you remember important dates and understand what postoperative care may be required.
Abhishiek Sharma, a neurosurgeon at Arizona Brain and Spine Center, says, “It is a surgeon’s responsibility to inform the patient of an unexpected postoperative course, outcome and potential need for assistive devices.” Many patients do not think to ask if they may be limited after their surgery, or if they may need additional assistive devices. Although it is presumed that the surgeon is responsible for informing the patient about what to expect, it is best to come prepared. Ask about worst case and best case scenarios so that nothing comes as a surprise. You are the focus and the main priority of the healthcare team. Don’t forget to bring materials to write down all of the advice that your doctor tells you, or ask for an additional copy of your chart and report.
Dr. John Corey, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Scottsdale, Arizona, said, “It is important to know how many of these procedures a surgeon performs on a routine basis and how many they have performed.” Not only do you want to ensure that your doctor accepts your insurance, you want to make sure you have the best doctor for the procedure. In the United States, all of the doctors have graduated from medical school and have completed the training required and fulfilled the competency requirements. However, not all doctors specialize in the same fields. Other factors to consider are years of experience, proximity, and recommendations from family and friends. In the end, it is going to be statistically rare that you come across a truly “bad” doctor. It is more about choosing the doctor that is right for you and your individual situation.
No matter what kind of operation you’re having done, relax because you’re in good hands. As a patient, you’re in the passenger seat, but it is still imperative that you ask questions and stay informed. The more you research ahead of time, and the more you ask, the better you’ll be informed about your options before a procedure.