Questions to Ask Your Surgeon

Questions to Ask Your Surgeon

If it is determined that surgery is right for you, below are some helpful questions to ask your surgeon.


Before You Decide to Have 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 are the long-term consequences of the proposed procedure? Does this surgery ever need to be repeated?

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? 

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?
  • 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?

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