The Most Important Questions to Ask Before Surgery

Elderly man in hospital bed talking to young doctor

Going into surgery can be nerve-wracking. It means trusting your doctor with the expectation that they will fix your ailment and get you back to health. With so much on the line, it’s crucial that you be completely informed before your operation. With that in mind, here are five of the most important questions to ask before surgery.

What Is the Procedure?

Before going into surgery, you should know what to expect. This isn’t something as simple as “we’re going to remove the appendix” or “we’re going to fix your broken arm.” As a patient, you should know how the doctor is going to do those things.

Will they need to install screws or other hardware that could present future complications? Is there anything atypical about your condition that requires a unique approach? When you know exactly what the doctors are doing, you can better understand potential complications and what you can expect for your long-term health.

Why Is It Necessary? Are There Other Options?

All surgery comes with risks, and some people wish to avoid unnecessary surgeries. Before scheduling your procedure, be sure to explore all your options. For example, do you absolutely need a knee replacement, or might you see similar outcomes from physical therapy and steroid injections?

While there are sometimes alternatives to surgery, it’s best to consult with your physician and come up with the plan that is best suited to your situation.

What Can I Expect During Recovery?

Before going in for your procedure, you should have a solid understanding of the recovery process. This might include:

  • How long until you’re back to health?
  • Will you need an extended hospital stay?
  • Will you need to miss work?
  • Will you need follow-up appointments or physical therapy?
  • Will you be starting new medications after surgery? If so, are there side effects?
  • Is this a single surgery or one in a series?

The more you understand the recovery process, the better you can prepare for your time after surgery.

What Are the Potential Complications?

All surgery has some degree of risk. As a patient, you must understand the potential long-term complications before the day of your operation. Though it may seem frightening, the doctor should be able to walk you through what could potentially go wrong during surgery and what that means for your overall health.

Equally important is understanding potential postoperative complications. Each surgery carries different risks. If doctors are operating on your organs, for example, there’s a greater risk of internal bleeding than if they’re fixing a broken wrist.

You should also understand how the surgery might impact your daily life. Will you have to alter your diet or change your physical habits? Surgery can be life-changing and you need to know how your life might be different after the operation.

What Is the Surgeon's Experience With This Procedure?

A surgeon’s expertise and experience are two of the greatest predicting factors of a successful surgery. Often, the more often a doctor performs a particular procedure, the less likely they are to make a surgical error.

If your surgeon doesn’t have a lot of experience treating your condition or if you have a rare condition, it may be wise to seek a specialist known for a particular kind of operation. The more experienced your surgeon, the less likely you are to experience a surgical error or other postoperative complication.

If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries due to medical negligence, let us help. To schedule a free case consultation with an experienced New Hampshire medical malpractice attorney from Upton & Hatfield, LLP, don’t hesitate to call (603) 716-9777 or send us an email.

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