5 Things You Should Know or Ask Your Surgeon
Will you be traveling out of the country for surgery? Have you ever asked a doctor a question and thought to yourself, he probably thinks I’m an idiot? Many people do but you’d be surprised to know that would not be the case. No question you ask a doctor is a ‘dumb’ one. In fact, if you asked them that, they’d probably tell you many people ask the same kind of questions.
When you are scheduled for a surgery, there are certainly no questions that shouldn’t be answered to your comfort level. Some of those questions might actually be about the doctor. Most people are going to want to know who it is behind the mask. Here are some questions to consider or research prior to agreeing to travel out of the country for your surgery.
Is the doctor up on his/her credentials?
All doctors, in the US and Canada, are required to take continuing education courses to keep their license valid. Other countries may have different standards. Be sure you know what those standards are and if they have the appropriate credentials.
What is the surgeon’s training or specialty in?
You do not want someone trained as a Pulmonologist or General Surgeon doing an Orthopedic surgery. This is more common than you would imagine, especially for plastic surgery or in other foreign countries. The outcome will be more favorable when you have your surgery done with a licensed and trained specialist that is within the specialty of the surgery you are having.
How many surgeries has this doctor done similar to mine?
That old saying ‘practice makes perfect’ or ‘proficiency in numbers’ could apply here. The more surgeries a doctor does, the better skilled they become just like an athlete who trains every day.
Have there been any files or judgements against the surgeon?
This is something to check in to for your safety. If there has been a judgement, don’t discount the surgeon right away. Ask them about the case. Some judgements are common such as an Orthopedic surgeon because the outcomes are not always as the patient expected. Someone’s expectations and emotions can sometimes get in the way of reality and the first gut instinct is to blame the doctor. (The next point will give you more details to this) Doctors who have been found negligent are the ones to be concerned with. In that case, you may want to be more diligent in your decision to have them operate on you.
- Ask your surgeon what the their success rate outcome is for the procedure you are having done. Asking a doctor about their success rate for outcomes is a good indicator of the success you may experience. In higher risk surgeries such as abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, cancer surgery, carotid endarectomy or heart valve or bypass surgery it is also important to know that particular doctor’s complication rates. There are many experimental procedures they may not have enough data on to know or a particular surgery such as a spinal fusion that may only have a 70% success rate. Knowing this information and understanding it up front will help you set your expectations accurately and also give you more validation on whether or not you want to put yourself through the surgery.
Not every patient is the same and there are many factors doctors have to weigh such as your age, other risk factors or unknown obstacles they may encounter once they get in to do the actual surgery to determine what is best for you. Don’t ever assume, always ask. Make sure your interpretation of what the doctor is telling you makes sense so you are both on the same page and there are no surprises or misunderstandings.
Being well informed about your surgeon will give you the confidence you need. Go to your appointment prepared with a list of questions and make sure that all of them are answered to your satisfaction. Health Vantis will already have asked these questions if you utilize us. It is our job to make sure we have paired you with not only the appropriate doctor but also the best.