Anybody else out there have surgery anxiety like me? Ok lets be real, I get anxious about my regular appointments, but don't judge my life. But for many, surgery can cause major anxiety because nobody likes "going under". However, I have generally found that if I go to my appointments (surgery or not), armed with the questions I have, I leave feeling a lot better.
It does not matter what type of procedure you are having, these general questions to ask your surgeon will be helpful for your education and calm any fears you may be experiencing.
1. Will this be an out patient or in patient procedure? Out patient: How long should I expect to be at the surgery center? In Patient: How many days should I expect to be in the hospital?
For obvious reasons this question is super important. You need to be able to plan the time that you spend either inpatient or outpatient due to work or other life events.
2. How long will the recovery process be? Is there anything in my medical history that would prevent me from recovering in this allotted time.
Again, this is another no brainer due to work and life events. However it is also good to have a gauge of what to expect, so that you will know if you are not healing properly.
3. When can I resume my normal activities? (Work, working out, etc).
It is important to remember recovery time is not always indicative of when you can resume activities. Sometimes, your body may feel "healed" but you will still need to exclude strenuous activities for weeks or even months ahead.
4. Will I have to have a special diet after the procedure and for how long?
If this is the case, go ahead and get all of those bad things out of the pantry now, so that you won't even be tempted to touch them when your dietary restrictions begin. Instead, stock up on the things that you can eat post-op, prior to your procedure.
5. How many hours before my procedure will I need to stop eating?
The last thing you want is to have your procedure postponed because you decide to eat a whole pizza right before you arrived! To avoid, double check the last time that you should have anything in your system, including liquids.
6. How soon after surgery will I be scheduled for a post op appointment?
This one is pretty self explanatory. You just need to know.
7. Are there any special instructions for changing bandages or cleaning incisions?
This question is super important so that you make sure you steer clear of any infection that could arise at incision site.
8. What are the potential dangers associated with the surgery?
Now, hear me out! This one is probably one of the scariest on the list, but you need to be aware so that you can weigh the benefits vs the risks . Now, please also keep in mind doctors will give you worst case scenarios so that you are informed. This does not mean that you will experience those dangers.
9. What are the potential lasting effects of this surgery?
Ok, now that surgery is over, what is to be expected going forward. Can you eat, exercise, lift things the same way you did before? Years down the line, is there anything you should expect?
10. If I choose not to have the surgery, what are the ramifications?
This question just helps your make an informed decision on if you feel the surgery is worth it for you. Having surgery is no light decision and if you feel you could lead a completely normal life without having the surgery, you may consider other options.
11. Post-Op, are there any emergency signs I need to be on the lookout for?
Once you get home, there is no medical staff to assess you if things go wrong. Therefore it is imperative that you know what signs to look for, so you know when to seek medical care.
12. How long does the procedure typically take?
While this one might not be helpful for you because you will be knocked out, this one may be good for the family and friends awaiting your safe return from the operating room.
Surgery appointments can be scary, but you can leave feeling educated about your procedure if you just ask the right questions. Gone are the days when we get home and say "I should have asked..." now you have all the right questions to ask at your next pre op appointment. What other questions (if any) would you add to this list?