Illnesses and injuries are stressful. Often the treatment and recovery phases are long and come with many limitations.
When surgery is part of your treatment, it can make the process feel even more stressful. You may feel overwhelmed with questions, or you may not know where to start getting more information about your upcoming procedure.
These are some of the questions that should be part of your conversation with your healthcare team.
What is the procedure, and why do I need it?
Learning that you need surgery can be a surreal feeling. You may be too stunned to do more than acknowledge what the doctor said and agree to move forward.
Once you have time to process the news from your physician, you should talk to your doctor about the specific procedure and why they recommend it. You should also ask about what alternatives might be available.
How long will the benefits of this surgery last? Will I need a follow-up surgery?
The field of medicine continues to advance exponentially, but not all surgeries last a lifetime. You should ask your doctor about the specific benefits you can expect from this procedure and how long they will last. It is also essential to know what risks will come with your surgery and how they compare to the potential benefits.
In some cases, you may need follow-up surgery or ongoing treatment to maintain the benefits of your surgery.
Should I get a second opinion?
Sometimes patients feel like it is rude to ask for a second opinion. Most doctors are not offended if a patient wants to talk to another physician about their condition. Your doctor may also have recommendations for another provider you can talk to who can give you a different perspective or help you answer specific questions.
Surgery and treatment logistics
Not all surgeries come with an overnight stay in the hospital. You should talk to your doctor about where they will perform the surgery and what you can expect for both long and short-term recovery.
When you talk about recovery, you should also ask whether you will need physical or occupational therapy. Your doctor should be able to give you an estimated timeline for what you can expect in the days and weeks following your procedure.
Be an informed patient
As you learn more about your condition and the treatment your doctor recommends, take time to read articles from the medical field to research your illness or injury. When you have more information, you can ask more specific questions when you talk to your doctor.
During your conversation with your doctor, take notes so you can remember what you discussed. Your notes can be helpful as you move through the stages of your treatment plan.