Friday, November 03, 2006

10 things you should always ask your doctor before surgery

  1. Is there another option?
    Listen to the option. Even if it has a low chance of success I might want to give it a chance.
  2. What if my surgery fails?
    Even though he has assured me a thousand times that the chances of failure are miniscule, I’ll still ask him the question. After all you don’t want any rude surprises at the end. As an example ….. lets consider I have knee pain while walking & I am advised knee replacement. Some of the complications of the surgery may make it difficult for me to walk at all !
  3. What are the results of the surgery?
    The surgeon is likely to say that the results are good. But for how many years?
    What I mean is that some procedures are relatively new. The results of only a few years are available. Often as more long term studies come in, more failures become apparent and many times the procedure is abandoned. So it is wise to stick with a procedure that has stood the test of time.
  4. Who is going to assist you?
    A smart surgeon always takes the help of a well qualified assistant. Here 2 brains are definitely better than one.
  5. Tell me about the operation theatre (OT)?
    Like in my earlier post, I will again emphasize the importance of the OT. OT’s reserved for a particular surgery/branch are better than OT’s in which all types of surgeries are done. Laminar airflow is a definite plus point.
  6. What is the post op protocol?
    Ask in detail, like the no. of days in the hospital? No. of dressings? Physiotherapy protocol? When will I be able to walk? When will I be able to get back to work? Again no surprises.
  7. What anesthesia will I be given?
    I want to know if he’s (anesthetist) going to put a tube down my throat or poke a large needle down my spine? I’d also like to meet the anesthetist before hand & not just before surgery.
  8. Is my surgery major or minor?
    While these are very vague terms, indirect questions like … How many blood transfusions will I need? Will I need an I.C.U. post op.? will help to give me some idea.
  9. How much pain will I have to endure?
    Patients always underestimate the amount of pain they are going to get. Ask about what analgesics will be used & find out if there are better options.
  10. How many of these surgeries have you done or how many do you do, everyday?
    Of course, the more the better.

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