If surgery is being considered for you, you should ask questions. If you do not understand the answers you receive, you should keep asking assertively and politely until the surgery and its effects are explained to you in terms you understand.
It might help if you write down your questions before talking with the doctor. Some surgeries are relatively rare, and if you must undergo one of these, you should find a surgeon who has done a number of them with good results.
QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE SURGERY
Any patient who is considering surgery should obtain satisfactory answers from his or her doctor to the following questions:
- Why is this operation necessary?
- What are the risks of death or complications?
- What are the risks without surgery?
- Are there alternative treatments that do not involve surgery?
- What are the chances with those?
- What are the chances that the surgery will do what it is supposed to do?
Your surgeon will discuss potential advantages and disadvantages of the proposed surgery with you and your family. You need information that will allow you to decide which treatment is best for you.
The most frequent reason for surgery is pain. Because pain is a personal experience that cannot be shared with other people, the decision to have surgery should ultimately be yours. Your healthcare provider should provide you wi to teach the patient everything he knows about surgery, and the patient’s job is to understand this and to decide if the impact of his problem on his life is such that surgery seems to be the best option. No surgery can be predicted to be 100% successful, and there is always the possibility of a complication that could produce an undesired outcome. This has to be factored into the decision-making process.
Source: Prairie Spine and Pain Institute, Dr. Richard A. Kube II, MD.