Updated August 23, 2020

What Questions Should I Ask Before (and After) Surgery?

As a patient, you have the right to be informed about any medical procedure or surgery you will undergo. Learn about the risks and benefits of the surgery, alternative options, diagnosis, and recovery chances by asking your doctor questions—both before and after your procedure.

To get started, ask the following questions.

What Are Some Questions to Ask Before Surgery?

When you speak with your doctor before the procedure, it’s the time to get the information you need to feel comfortable with undertaking the surgery.

What Is the Recommended Operation?

Medical definitions and explanations can be extremely complicated. Your doctor should explain the recommended operation to you in language you can understand. Ask them to detail all the steps and give examples of successful recovery.

Why Do I Need the Surgery?

Operations can solve a variety of issues: They can repair injuries, end pain, or remove cancerous tissues or failed organs. Surgeries can also be exploratory. Ask your doctor about the specifics of your surgery: Why is it recommended? What is the goal of undergoing the surgery?

Are There Any Alternative Options?

Surgery is not always the only answer. Some medical conditions can be treated with lifestyle changes, medicine, or other various alternatives instead. Ask your doctor to identify and explain alternatives, including the pros and cons of each approach.

What Are the Benefits?

The benefits of the surgery—and how long they will last—are a significant factor in whether the procedure is worth the risks. Ask your doctor about expected long-term and short-term benefits as well as the likelihood of receiving them.

What Are the Risks?

All surgeries and medical procedures come with accepted risks. When you thoroughly understand the risks and possible complications of the surgery, you can make an informed decision that takes both the risks and benefits into account.

What Are Some Questions to Ask After Surgery?

When your medical procedure is over, there are a few further questions you might find it helpful to ask your doctor.

Was the Surgery Successful?

Asking if the surgery was successful as well as how the doctor defines that success is crucial to understanding your healing process. If the surgery was unsuccessful, it’s time to ask why and discuss next steps.

How Long Should I Expect Side Effects?

You will likely feel side effects after the procedure (bleeding, nausea, fever, lightheadedness, etc.). Notify your doctor of the symptoms you are experiencing and ask how long they are expected to continue.

What Is My Recovery Time Frame?

Follow-up treatments and recovery could take a significant amount of time. You may not be able to participate in some activities, like driving or heavy lifting, while in recovery. Ask about the projected time frame and what you can do to improve your own chances of a successful recovery.

Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

If you or a loved one have been a victim of medical malpractice, contact an Indianapolis Medical Malpractice Attorney from Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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