Prior to seeing your surgeon or entering hospital, be sure to ask the following questions and make sure you understand the answers. Since you may be nervous, take a friend or relative as support. They can help cover anything you may miss.
Questions to ask before you go
- Did you get a second opinion? Prior to your surgery or hospital stay, ask your doctor if you should get a second opinion. Does your family doctor agree with your surgeon on what needs to be done?
- Have you considered your needs? Before going into the hospital, talk to your doctor about which facility best suits your health needs. Find out which hospital has the best care and results for your particular condition.
- What are your options? Make certain you understand what operation the surgeon is recommending and why you need it. Are there any alternatives to surgery? Inquire about the risks and the benefits.
- How qualified are they? Does the surgeon have experience doing the surgery? You may discuss the surgeon’s qualifications with your primary doctor if it is more comfortable for you to do so.
- What should you expect? Ask how long the surgery will take. Are there possible complications?
- How did it go? Request the results of any test or procedure during your stay. Don’t assume because you do not get them that all is fine. If you’re back at home, call up your doctor and ask for the results. Ask what the test results mean for you and your care.
- What kind of anesthetic? Find out what kind of anesthesia you will need. Make sure you inform the surgeon and the anesthesiologist about any allergies or bad reaction to anesthesia you may have. Inform them of all the medications you are taking.
- How long is recovery? Ask how long it will take to recover. What will happen after surgery, and who will manage your care when you are in hospital?
- What about follow-up care? Ask when you will leave the hospital and what postsurgical care will be necessary. When can you return to work?
- What are your policies around advocates? Consider appointing a family member or a friend to be your advocate. Choose someone who will get things done and speak up for you if you are unable to do so. Check to make sure the hospital will respect your choice and see if there are any regulations around advocates.