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- What is the operation (procedure) that is recommended?
- What is the surgeon's experience with this procedure?
- What is the reason that this procedure is necessary at this time?
- What are the options if this procedure is not done?
- What is the anticipated outcome of the procedure?
- What kind of anesthesia is required for the procedure?
- What are the specific risks that this procedure involves?
- What about a second opinion?
- What is the recovery process after this procedure?
- Is this procedure covered by my insurance plan?
What are the specific risks that this procedure involves?
What are the problems, complications, or conditions that are the risks of the procedure? How common are these complications and potential adverse events? If complications occur, how can they be treated? Is hospitalization required, or can the procedure be performed on an outpatient basis? If hospitalization is recommended, how long is a typical hospital stay?
What about a second opinion?
Obtaining a second opinion is very reasonable for an elective (voluntary, or non-emergency) surgical procedure. This will not be a problem with the first surgeon, who will recognize this as commonplace. Second opinions can reassure anxious patients (and family members) and make the whole process easier for all involved.
What is the recovery process after this procedure?
Procedures vary in terms of wound recovery time and length of rehabilitation programs. It is very important for patients to know the long-term program ahead of time for the best planning. Will pain control medications be necessary? How long will it be until you can resume normal functioning? When can you return to work and recreational activities?
Is this procedure covered by my insurance plan?
Will physician's fees, associated costs, hospital services, rehabilitation programs, and pain medications be covered by my insurance plan? Sometimes the doctor's office staff can be very helpful in securing the answers to these questions. If not, a direct call to your insurer is in order.
Medically reviewed by Martin E. Zipser, MD; American board of Surgery
Johns Hopkins Hospital