Working with your doctor
If you've been recommended for a surgical procedure, it's important to get all the facts. The more you know about your condition and your procedure, the more empowered you'll feel.
Welcome to the team
The first step in this journey is to recognize that you're now part of a team. This includes your personal physician who diagnosed you, the surgeon who will perform the procedure and, in some cases, a specialist who was called to help make the diagnosis.
When it comes to choosing your treatment (and sometimes your surgeon), you play a vital role. You need to make your concerns known to the others on your team. You should feel comfortable asking any questions, big or small, and know that your team is here to support you.
Here are some pointers to help you with this process:
- Write down all of your questions before the appointment, and take the list with you to the visit.
- If you’ve been examined, you may want to speak with your doctor away from the examining room, in his or her office where you can be comfortable and fully dressed.
- Write down the answers your doctor provides you.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if there is anything you do not understand
- Take a friend or family member with you to the visit to also listen to the responses and help you remember the information.
- If you have additional questions after the visit, don’t be afraid to call the office to get your questions answered.
Better Decisions Together
Once you and your team decide that you need surgery, that doesn’t mean all the decisions have been made. You may want to consider having a minimally invasive procedure. This is something only your doctor can determine, but you can start the conversation. Here are some basic questions to ask your primary care physician:
- Is there a minimally invasive option for this procedure?
- Is a minimally invasive procedure a good option for me?
- What are the benefits of a minimally invasive procedure?
- What are the risks?
- Do you know a surgeon who routinely performs this procedure using a minimally invasive approach?
Questions to Ask a Surgeon
When you are referred a surgeon, just as you did with your primary doctor, you should feel comfortable asking anything to a surgeon about your upcoming surgery. Your surgeon and nurses are your best sources of information. Here are some questions to help you start a conversation about minimally invasive options:
- Do you feel that a minimally invasive procedure is a good option for me for this procedure?
- How many minimally invasive procedures have you performed?
- How many times have you performed this specific procedure?
- Will you be performing the procedure yourself or with other surgeons?
- Do you have a specialized staff that focuses on minimally invasive procedures?
- When will I be able to leave the hospital?
- How long will it take me to recover?
- When can I resume my normal activities, including school, work, exercise, sexual activity and recreation?
To find more questions that are specifically related to your condition, please visit the Health Topics sections below: