10 Questions to Ask Your Doctor Before Surgery

ankle surgerySurgery can be stressful and scary, and talking with a surgeon can add to the stress if you’re not prepared with a few questions. Patients often come to an appointment with questions and then forget them when they start to listen to the doctor.

It’s very important to ask your doctor questions about your surgery so you can understand the procedures and put your mind at ease. Write questions down as you think of them. Often, questions can be answered by reading pre-operative paperwork but here are some questions to ask your doctor before and after surgery.

Pre-op Questions

  1. Where and when will the surgery be performed?
  2. What is the approximate cost of my surgical procedure? (Your insurance will be able to tell you that price once they have the procedure codes your surgeon expects to use to communicate charging)
  3. What are the benefits of the surgery versus continued non-surgical treatment and what are the potential complications, how often do they occur, and what is the treatment?  (What would you do if I was your mother or father?)


Post-op Questions

  1. Does someone need to wait during my surgery and/or drive me home after?
  2. Does someone need to monitor me overnight?
  3. How and where do I fill my post op prescriptions? What type of pain medication will be prescribed after surgery?
  4. When (how) can I shower or bathe? Do I have to worry about getting the dressings wet?
  5. When is my first post operative appointment?
  6. Are there any activity restrictions (driving, sports, etc.)? What are they and for how long?
  7. How do I prevent swelling, and what do I do if I bleed through a bandage or cast?
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Lance Silverman, MD

Orthopaedic Surgeon and founder of Silverman Ankle & Foot. Treating Minnesotans with Ankle & Foot problems since 2004.

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