Big Questions To Ask Before Any Surgical Procedure

Posted on: 5 July 2023

Surgery has saved so many lives. These days, surgical procedures are safer and more advanced than ever before. But surgery is still invasive, and most surgeries do still come with some discomfort and a recovery period. As such, it is always a good idea to make sure you know what you're getting into before you "go under the knife." Here are a few questions to ask your surgeon before your surgery date arrives.

Are there less invasive alternatives?

Your surgeon will generally recommend the approach that they believe will best improve your health and life. However, the first approach they recommend may not be the only approach. There may be a less invasive surgery that is almost as effective. It's worth asking about these alternatives so that if they do exist, you can consider them before opting for major surgery. 

Will you be put under general anesthesia?

People often assume that if they are going to have surgery, they will be put under general anesthesia, which means that they will be completely unconscious during the procedure. But fewer and fewer surgical procedures are requiring general anesthesia these days. Now, many procedures are done through small incisions, using small tools or robotic equipment. As such, many of these procedures can be done with just a local anesthetic and a sedative. There's less prep involved when you have local anesthesia instead of general. For instance, you won't have to fast before surgery. So, make sure you confirm which kind of anesthetic your surgeon will use before your surgical date arrives.

How long will you be observed after surgery?

Highly invasive surgeries, like hip replacements, may require a few days in the hospital afterward. Less invasive surgeries, like ACL repairs, may only require a few hours of observation. Ask your surgeon what to expect so you know when to have a friend drive you home, what events to cancel, and so forth. Note that in some cases, you may need to go to a rehab facility for a few days or weeks after surgery. This is common after orthopedic surgeries, such as tendon and ligament repairs and joint fusions.

If you ask these big three questions before surgery, you will get a better idea of what to expect from a general surgical procedure. Don't hesitate to ask any other questions that come to mind, too. It is easier to ask questions before surgery than afterward when you're trying to recover.