Every surgery carries with it risks and potential complications, but the stakes are even higher when you’re dealing with a neurological surgery. Now, neurosurgeons are some of the best and brightest surgeons in the game, and techniques are only getting safer as we get a better understanding of how to best care for patients, but being skilled at surgery is only part of the equation. A great neurosurgeon will also be able to answer any questions you might have prior to the operation and help you manage expectations post-op.
With this in mind, we thought it would be a good idea to share some questions that you may want to ask your neurosurgeon prior to your operation so you can have peace of mind heading into surgery. Below, we share seven questions you’ll want to ask your surgeon before neurosurgery.
Questions For Your Neurosurgeon
Here are seven questions that many patients find helpful prior to their operation.
1. What is the expected outcome?
This is a great baseline question to ask, because it helps to set the table for your expectations. If all goes to plan, what can you expect following the operation? Will you be pain free, will you be able to run again, or will you simply be cancer free? Assuming all goes well, where will be be?
2. Can you walk me through the procedure, start to finish?
This is another good question to ask so you can visualize the operation in your head. This will help you understand what to expect with anesthesia, during the operation, and once you’re discharged to a recovery room. Knowing the basics of the procedure helps to calm pre-surgery anxiety.
3. Is surgery my only option, and is it my best option?
A good neurosurgeon will try to solve the issue with conservative care in more than one way before moving on to surgery. Ask if they’ve exhausted all their conservative care options. In some cases, although other treatments may be available, because of the type of issue you’re dealing with, surgery may be your best option. Ask your doctor about your treatment options to ensure surgery is right for you.
4. How often have your performed this procedure?
You want to make sure the surgeon who is performing your operation has performed the same surgery many times before. Although each patient is different, you want to trust your surgery to someone with a lot of related experience. Ask your doctor about their past history treating this condition, and how their patients have fared post-op.
5. What can I expect during my recovery?
It’s also important to ask about life after surgery. Ask your surgeon what the road to recovery looks like. When will you start physical therapy, when can you return to normal activities, and assuming all goes as planned, when will you be back to full health?
6. What are the odds this is my last surgery in regards to this condition?
Will this treatment fix the problem, or is there a decent chance you’ll have to have another surgery down the road? Ask your doctor about the long-term success rate of this surgery for your condition.
7. What can I do to give myself the best chance at a successful operation?
This is a great question to end on, because it shows you’re committed to a successful operation. Ask your surgeon about your pre-surgery routine and what you can do to ensure things go smoothly. This may include stopping certain medications, changing your diet, giving up alcohol or tobacco or a number of different factors. Give your surgery the best chance at being successful by doing what you can to improve the likelihood of a positive outcome.
For more information, or to set up a consultation with Dr. Chang, reach out to his office today.