Even if it is elective, the prospect of facing surgery is anxiety producing in many people. Much of that anxiety can be allayed if the patient knows what to expect. They should write down their questions so they do not forget them and take them to the consultation they have with their doctor. Here are five questions a patient should ask before undergoing surgery:
1. If the operation is not elective, the patient should ask their doctor why it is needed. They should also ask if there are other, less invasive ways to treat their particular problem.
Even if the operation is elective, the patient should ask:
2. How will the operation be performed?
Many operations offer the surgeon several techniques, including an open surgery or a laparoscopic surgery. In laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon is guided by a fiber optic camera that projects images onto a monitor. The incisions are tiny and made for the camera and miniaturized surgical tools. Laparoscopic surgeries often result in less trauma for the patient and a faster recovery time. The patient should ask if this type of surgery is appropriate for their problem.
Cosmetic surgeries often have several variations. There are, for example, several types of abdominoplasty and several types of breast augmentation. The patient and their doctor should decide which approach is best for the patient.
3. What are the risks, benefits, side effects and possible complications of the surgery?
Though patients may only be interested in the benefits of the operation they choose, it’s important to know its side effects, risks and potential complications. This helps both the patient and the doctor prepare for them. The patient should ask the doctor what protocols come into play if there are complications during or after the surgery.
4. What kind of anesthesia is given for this operation?
Some operations such as heart by-pass are always performed under general anesthesia, when the patient is asleep. In other operations, the patient can choose from local anesthesia, IV sedation or general anesthesia. The type of anesthesia depends on the patient’s overall health, medical history and any drugs, vitamins or supplements that they take. The patient should ask how they’ll be monitored when they’re under anesthesia during their surgery.
5. What should the patient do before surgery?
The doctor or nurse will give the patient a list of things they need to do before their surgery. If the surgery does not have to happen right away, which would be the case with elective surgery, the patient may need to discontinue certain medications some weeks before their operation. They may be instructed to go on a diet, have tests or donate blood. All patients need to stop smoking, if they do. Smoking interferes with healing.