Most surgeries related to pain are typically done as the last resort and the final option when nonsurgical procedures have been exhausted or proven unsuccessful (check out our video on Dr. Schapiro discussing his approach to patient care and surgery).
Surgery can seem daunting and understandably patients can forget to ask their physician extra questions that may not have been answered. Below are some questions to ask your physician before outpatient surgery that will also help with your peace of mind.
The University of Michigan provides a great and detailed 3-page printable PDF that can be used as a reference as you are speaking with your physician on your upcoming surgery. Having a tangible and lined list will help you stay focused and organized throughout the discussion (also be sure that you have a clear grasp on the costs associated with your surgery).
Sometimes your physician will not be the one performing your surgery and will refer you to another doctor. In these instances your questions should also pertain to the doctor themselves, and their own medical background and experiences with your particular procedure. Questions such as: Are you board-certified? How many times have you performed this procedure? How many times is this procedure done annually at the hospital or surgery center in which you are affiliated? Questions like that will be important to ask to get a better understanding of the surgeon's qualifications regarding the procedure you need.
Other questions can include the outpatient (ambulatory surgery center) facility's reputation, such as: Is the facility accredited by the appropriate bodies? Is the facility equipped with the latest surgical technologies? How is the on-hand staff and team? Those questions can also be answered by a google or a social media search, and of course perusing reviews. Additionally, most hospitals or ambulatory surgery center websites will list general information for patients regarding surgeries and any materials needed from the patient the day of such as ID, proof of insurance etc. If you happen upon information that is any cause for concern be sure to bring this to your physician's attention.
It's also important to know the protocol following surgery. Be sure the information is clear on who to contact if certain symptoms or signs of complications begin, some signs could mean you should immediately call 911, others could be to contact your doctor's office or a direct provided line. So make sure you receive this information from your doctor beforehand and be sure to share the protocol/information with any family members or friends that will be accompanying you to your surgery and assisting after.
You as the patient have some onus as well when it comes to surgery. It's important you let your physician or practicing surgeon know any and all medications, any smoking history, allergies etc. Additionally, before surgery you'll most likely be required to complete a medical clearance, be sure to follow all instructions to help yourself have a streamlined and successful surgery!