What You Need to Know
Questions to Ask Your Doctor and Your Surgeon
Having Surgery? What You Need to Know is for patients who
are facing surgery that is not an emergency. Some of the
questions in this document may help you and your family
understand more about your surgery, whether it has to be
done right away or can be done later. Your doctor or nurse
also can help you understand what is being done and why.
Don't be afraid to ask questions!
To obtain print copies of Having Surgery? What You Need to Know, call the AHRQ
Publications Clearinghouse at 1-800-358-9295 or send an
E-mail to AHRQPubs@ahrq.hhs.gov.
To download the print version, go to the
PDF File (490 KB). Plugin Software Help.
Care About Your Health
Help Make the Decisions
Are you facing surgery? You are not alone. Every year, more than 15
million Americans have surgery.
Most operations are not emergencies and are considered elective
surgery. This means that you have time to learn about your operation
to be sure it is the best treatment for you. You also have time to work
with your surgeon to make the surgery as safe as possible. Be active
in your health care to have quality care.
Your regular doctor is your primary care doctor. He or she may be
the doctor who suggests that you have surgery and may refer you to a
surgeon. You may also want to find another surgeon to get a second
opinion, to confirm if surgery is the right treatment for you. You
might want to ask friends or coworkers for the names of surgeons
they have used.
This document gives you some questions to ask your primary care
doctor and surgeon before you have surgery. It also gives the reasons
for asking these questions. The answers will help you make the best
decisions. Select for tips about where
you can get more information on surgery.
Your doctors should welcome questions. If you do not understand
the answers, ask the doctor to explain them clearly. Bring a friend or
relative along to help you talk with the doctor. Research shows that
patients who are well informed about their treatment are more
satisfied with their results.