What You Need to Know Before You Go Under the Knife
Finding out all the facts before you make your big decision
Before You Go Under the Knife
Even in an age when surgery has become more common than it ever was, the idea of it can still spark fear in the hearts of patients. If you are not sure whether you should get surgery, you need to consider all of your options before making such a daunting decision. Here are some tips to help make it easier for you to decide.
What Can I Expect With Surgery?
This is very important, because depending on your reason for getting surgery, you may have other options that are safer and more practical. Ask your doctor specifically, how an operation will remove the challenges you are facing.
- Will the operation remove the pain or reduce it?
- What long term effects will the procedure cause?
- Are there viable alternatives to surgery, such as medicine, diet, or a change in lifestyle?
Think about how much of a challenge your condition is causing you. Does it restrict your mobility? Are you in constant pain? How bad is the pain, on a scale of one to ten, with ten being "unbearable"? You will also need to get a second opinion. Ask your surgeon for a recommendation.
Are There Other Alternatives to Surgery?
Some surgeries are so complicated, and pose so many risks that many patients are opting out of an operation for other solutions to their health challenges. For example, knee or hip replacement surgeries can come with major and persistent complications. Often, the hip replacement surgeries need to be revised or fixed, because of wear, loosening, infection, or some other cause. The American Joint Replacement Registry found, in one study, that 68 percent of hip revisions were done just three months after surgery. There are other options that do not put the patient in such risk-laden situations. Stem cell treatment for hips is becoming a more attractive choice for those who are averse to the complications of surgery. Injuries and disorders such as osteoarthritis, bursitis, avascular necrosis, tears in the tendon, and other debilitating hip issues. This procedure could also save a patient lost time and money in rehabilitation.
Other options are regenerative injections. These are non-surgical procedures that aid the body's natural healing processes by activating and amassing the cells that are created for restoring damaged or destroyed tissue.
Platelet Rich Plasma procedures are helping world class athletes recuperate from injury, faster and more completely than would be possible with mere surgery. These procedures can facilitate a more total restoration of impaired tissue, even after multiple surgeries.
What Are the Risks of Surgery?
The most important question you can ask your surgeon concerning surgery is, "What are the possible risks?" How likely is there to be some kind of complication, because of the kind of surgery or because of a personal factor like age, weight, etc? It may sound rather scary, but you need to know the worst case scenario, and the likelihood of it happening to you during the operation. That can help you to be more resolute in your decision.
How Long Will it Take to Recover From Surgery?
Ask the surgeon how long it takes to recover from a surgery like yours. Find out how long you will be expected to stay in the hospital. Ask about what your limitations will be as you are recovering. You will need to know if you will be confined to a wheelchair or a walker for a period of time. If you are taking off from work, you will need to know when you can return to work, and if you will continue to have limitations after recovery.
What Will Surgery Cost Me?
If you really need surgery, you do not want to forego it because of the price. Still, you may need to talk to your insurance company about coverage. Will your insurance cover most of the procedure? Half? Inquire about ways to reduce your costs to make the surgery more affordable.