Questions to ask your surgeon before you have surgery
Questions before you decide to have the surgery
- What type of surgery are you recommending? Why?
- Please explain the procedure in as much detail as possible.
- What is the natural course of my condition if it is not surgically addressed?
- How long will the surgery take?
- What are side effects, potential risks and complications?
- Please explain the risks and how they relate to me personally.
- What if you get in there and see something different than you expected?
- Do I need to donate my own blood? If yes, why?
- Do you perform the whole procedure? Will any students/other surgeons be doing any parts of the operation? If yes, who are they and what are their qualifications?
- Who else will assist you in the operation? What is their background and qualifications?
- What are the long-term consequences of the proposed procedure? Does this surgery ever need to be repeated?
Questions about the surgeon
- How many times have you done this procedure?
- Are you board-eligible or board-certified?
- Are you fellowship-trained in spine surgery?
Questions about what to expect after the surgery
- What kind of pain should I expect after the surgery and for how long?
- How long is the hospital stay?
- May a family member spend the night with me in the hospital?
- How do you manage the pain in the hospital?
- Which pain medications will I be sent home with? What are possible side effects of these prescriptions?
- Will you know before the surgery if I will need a back brace afterwards? If so, will I be fitted for one before the surgery?
- Who can I call if I have questions after the surgery? What is the process for communication?
- How often will I see you after my surgery?
- What symptoms would warrant a call to your office?
- What symptoms would warrant immediate medical attention?
- What limitations will I have after surgery and for how long?
- How long will I be out of work?
- What kind of help will I need when I return home?
- When can I drive again?
- When can I resume normal household chores?
- What expectations do you have for my recovery?
- When is it safe for my partner and me to have sexual relations again?
- How soon after the surgery can I start physical therapy?