Questions about Surgery

  1. What is the name of the surgery you’re recommending?
  2. Why do I need this surgery?
  3. How confident are you in my diagnosis?
    • Are there other tests I should have to be conclusively sure?
    • Where can I get a second opinion?
  4. Are there alternatives to surgery and how successful might they be?
    • Lifestyle changes?
    • Medications?
    • Non-surgical procedures?
    • Watchful waiting?
  5. What are the risks of delaying or not having the surgery?
  6. What benefits can I expect from the surgery?
    • Best case to worst case scenarios?
    • Will my condition improve immediately after surgery, or will it take more time?
    • How long are the benefits likely to last?
    • Will I need this surgery again in the future?
  7. What are the risks of the surgery and how likely are they to occur?
  8. Where will the surgery be done?
  9. Is this surgery done on an outpatient or inpatient basis?
  10. How big will the incision be?
    • Are there less invasive surgical procedures?
    • How would the potential benefits and risks differ?
    • Will I have a significant scar, and if so, can something be done in the future to reduce its appearance?
  11. Are you (the surgeon) board certified?
  12. How many of these procedures have you done?
    • In total?
    • At this facility?
  13. Do you work with the same surgical team each time you do this procedure?
  14. Is outcome data available for this surgery?
    • Overall?
    • For this facility?
    • For you and your surgical team?
  15. What kind of anesthesia will I need?
    • Local, regional or general?
    • Do I have a choice?
  16. What are the qualifications of the anesthesiologist?
  17. Will the anesthesiologist be in attendance throughout the procedure?
  18. Are there things I will need to do to prepare for the surgery?
    • Stop or start medications?
    • Store my own blood?
    • Special exercise?
    • Tests?
  19. What are the steps involved in the procedure?
    • What will happen before the surgery?
    • How long will the surgery last?
  20. What happens after surgery?
  21. How much pain should I expect?
    • How will it be controlled?
    • How long is it likely to last?
  22. How long am I likely to be in the hospital?
    • Will I have tubes, and if so, what tubes and for how long?
    • Will I have monitors, and if so, what monitors and for how long?
    • When can my family visit?
    • How soon will I be able to eat and drink?
    • How soon will I be able to get out of bed?
    • When will my stitches be removed?
    • What determines when I will be discharged?
  23. Will I need assistance at home?
    • For how long?
    • Will I need any special supplies or equipment?
    • What assistance is available in the community?
  24. What limits, if any, will there be on my activities and for how long? (Eating, bathing, bending, climbing stairs, exercise, driving, working.)
  25. Will I experience any permanent changes in bodily function, sensation, or activities of daily living?
  26. How often and when will I have follow-up visits?
  27. If the surgery is diagnostic: How soon will I get results?
  28. Will I need physical therapy?
    • If so, where will I go to get it?
    • When will I start?
    • How long might it take?
  29. What complications can arise after surgery?
    • How likely are they?
    • What are the signs of complications I should watch for?
  30. What are all the costs involved in this surgery and follow-up care?
  31. Are there other people I can contact who have had this surgery?