Talking with Your Doctor

Frequently Asked Questions

21. If I have to have surgery, what questions should I ask the surgeon?

In some cases, surgery may be the best treatment option for your health problem. If so, your doctor will refer you to a surgeon who can talk to you about the operation. Understanding what the surgery involves will help you get ready for it and can also help you decide if you want to try a different treatment option.

Here are some questions to ask your surgeon.

  • What will be done during the surgery?
  • Can another treatment be tried instead of surgery?
  • What are the risks? What problems may occur because of this surgery?
  • What is the success rate of the surgery? How often does the surgery work?
  • What kind of anesthesia will I have? Are there any side effects and risks for older people?
  • Will I be in pain? How long will the pain last?
  • When will I be able to go home after the surgery?
  • What will the recovery be like? How long will it take to feel better?
  • How will the surgery affect my health and lifestyle?
  • What will happen if I don't have the surgery?
  • Is there anything else I should know about this surgery?