The days leading up to a surgery can be stressful, and it is important for patients to be informed about the operation’s risks and benefits.
“Many patients come to their preoperative consultation well-informed thanks to a vast amount of information that is readily available on the Internet. It is evident when patients have done their homework,” says Dr. John Draus, University of Kentucky assistant professor of pediatric surgery. “Patients should learn as much as possible because knowledge is power.”
He adds, “I caution patients that not all information is accurate. It is important to ask your doctor if a Web site can be trusted, or print off the information and go over it with your physician.”
Loved ones can assist and be there when questions are asked about the procedure.
“I encourage patients and their families to write down their questions in a notebook,” Draus says. “This should be done before, during, and after the operation. Surgeons make rounds at odd times—frequently early in the morning and late at night. If you are not prepared, you may not remember to ask all of your questions.”
The following are important questions to ask your physician before surgery:
• What is the operation being recommended? Is it necessary?
• Are there other treatment options?
• What are the benefits of the surgery and how long will they last?
• What are the risks and possible complications?
• What happens if you do not have the operation?
• What is the physician’s experience performing this surgery?
• How long should you expect to be in the hospital?
• What can you expect during recovery?
• What are the costs of this operation?
“Find out if your surgeon is board-certified,” Draus says. “If you do not feel comfortable with your surgeon or if you still have questions, you have the option to seek a second opinion.”
KEYWORD EXCLUSIVE: SURGERY PREP
Find tips on what surgery patients should take with them to the hospital and other suggestions for preparing for surgery.