Talk to Your Doctor

Everyone who has any type of surgery has some degree of fear about it — whether they acknowledge it or not. Fear is a very natural reaction. For many people, it comes from the feeling they are giving up control — even temporarily. Indeed, during surgery, others are taking responsibility for you, but they are highly skilled, highly trained and experienced professionals who know exactly what they are doing. Even if you have asked dozens of questions before coming in for surgery, feel free to ask them all again in the hospital if you need to.

The fear of not being in control is sometimes heightened by knowing that you will be under anesthesia. It may help to know that anesthesia care at Swedish is provided by physicians who are specialty trained and board-certified in anesthesiology. The sole job of these doctors is to monitor you every moment of your surgery.

Many people also fear the pain they may feel after surgery. Talk to your doctor in advance about what types of pain medications you will need in the hospital and after you are released. With all of the medications available today, your pain can be managed. While you are in the hospital, tell your nurses if you are feeling any pain.

Questions to Ask Your Surgeon

Why do I need this surgery?
What are the alternatives to the surgery?
How will I feel after surgery?
What will happen if I don’t have it?
What are the risks?
Where will the scars be? What will they look like?
Will I have to do special exercises after surgery?
When can I get back to my normal activities?
What kind of anesthesia will I need?
What are the potential side effects?
How long will the surgery take?
How long will I be in the hospital?
Will I need any special equipment or arrangements once I am home?
What type of pain medications will I be taking after surgery?
Will there be any special instructions for taking care of the incision area?
What type of complications are possible during and after surgery?