Please explain the goal for this surgery and why you feel surgery is necessary for me.
Are there any non-surgical treatment options? If so, how do the potential benefits and risks of the two (the surgical and the non-surgical) compare?
Is there a less invasive way to do this surgery?
For example, a vaginal hysterectomy rather than an abdominal one.
What will you do during the surgery? Can you show me a diagram or illustration to help me to understand it better?
How many of these operations have you performed during the past twelve months?
This question is important because with many operations—especially more complex ones—you are in better hands with a surgeon who has performed it many times, has become highly proficient at it, and is experienced in dealing with possible complications during the surgery.
What were the results?
How familiar is the surgical team with this type of surgery?
Just as with the surgeon, the hospital surgical team should be highly skilled with this type of surgery. The skill level often comes with performing the surgery many times—not just with your surgeon, but with others as well.
Will the surgery leave a scar? Where will it be? What will it look like?
Will it be possible to have reconstructive or corrective surgery either at the time of the original operation or at a later date if I choose to do so?
For example, with breast cancer:
- What are my options for timing the reconstructive surgery?
- What types of reconstruction can be done?
- What reconstruction techniques are possible with my body type?
- What techniques fit with my lifestyle?
- Will the general surgeon work closely with the plastic surgeon? Most surgeons suggest a consultation with a qualified plastic surgeon before the breast surgery is performed.