What are the Risks of having the Operation?All operations carry some risk. This is why you need to weigh the benefits of the operation against the risks of complications or side effects. Complications can occur around the time of the operation. Complications are unplanned events, such as infection, too much bleeding, reaction to anesthesia, or accidental injury. Some people have an increased risk of complications because of other medical conditions.
In addition, there may be side effects after the operation. For the most part, side effects can be anticipated. For example, your surgeon knows that there will be swelling and some soreness at the site of the operation.
Ask your surgeon about the possible complications and side effects of the operation. There is almost always some pain with surgery. Ask how much there will be and what the doctors and nurses will do to reduce the pain. Controlling the pain will help you be more comfortable while you heal, get well faster, and improve the results of your operation.
What if I don't have this Operation?Based on what you learn about the benefits and risks of the operation, you might decide not to have it. Ask your surgeon what you will gain‘”or lose‘”by not having the operation now. Could you be in more pain? Could your condition get worse? Could the problem go away?
Where can I get a Second Opinion?Getting a second opinion from another doctor is a very good way to make sure having the operation is the best alternative for you. Many health insurance plans require patients to get a second opinion before they have certain non–emergency operations. If your plan does not require a second opinion, you may still ask to have one. Check with your insurance company to see if it will pay for a second opinion. If you get one, make sure to get your records from the first doctor so that the second one does not have to repeat tests.
Where will the Operation be done?Most surgeons practice at one or two local hospitals. Find out where your operation will be performed. Have many of the operations you are thinking about having been done in this hospital? Some operations have higher success rates if they are done in hospitals that do many of those procedures. Ask your doctor about the success rate at this hospital. If the hospital has a low success rate for the operation in question, you should ask to have it at another hospital. Until recently, most surgeries were performed on an inpatient basis and patients stayed in the hospital for one or more days. Today, a lot of surgeries are done on an outpatient basis in a doctor's office, a special surgical center, or a day surgery unit of a hospital. Outpatient surgery is less expensive because you do not have to pay for staying in a hospital room.
Ask whether your operation will be done in the hospital or in an outpatient setting. If your doctor recommends inpatient surgery for a procedure that is usually done as outpatient surgery, or just the opposite, recommends outpatient surgery that is usually done as inpatient surgery, ask why. You want to be in the right place for your operation.
What kind of Anesthesia will I need?Anesthesia is used so that surgery can be performed without unnecessary pain. Your surgeon can tell you whether the operation calls for local, regional, or general anesthesia, and why this form of anesthesia is recommended for your procedure.
Local anesthesia numbs only a part of your body for a short period of time, for example, a tooth and the surrounding gum. Not all procedures done with local anesthesia are painless.
Regional anesthesia numbs a larger portion of your body, for example, the lower part of your body for a few hours. In most cases, you will be awake with regional anesthesia.
General anesthesia numbs your entire body for the entire time of the surgery. You will be unconscious if you have general anesthesia.
Anesthesia is quite safe for most patients and is usually administered by a specialized physician (anesthesiologist) or nurse anesthetist. Both are highly skilled and have been specially trained to give anesthesia.