Questions to Ask Your Doctor Before Surgery

Most healthcare providers recommend nonsurgical options as the first line of treatment for many conditions. However, if noninvasive treatment options, such as medication and lifestyle modifications, do not relieve your symptoms, your doctor may recommend surgery.

Having surgery can be stressful. That is why communication is vital in any surgery. Knowing what to expect from your surgery can help put you at ease and manage expectations during and after the procedure. Planning ahead for surgery can help you manage the challenges of a surgical procedure and increase your chances of better outcomes.

Below is a list of questions from the American College of Surgeons to help you in your discussions with your doctor and healthcare team before your surgery.

What Questions Should I Ask Before a Surgery Procedure?

  1. Why do I need this operation?
  2. How will the operation be performed?
  3. Are there other treatment options, and is this operation the best option for me?
  4. What are the risks, benefits and possible complications of this operation? Will my health history and the medications I am currently taking mean that the risks, potential complications and benefits will differ for me?
  5. What are my anesthesia options?
  6. What can I expect before the operation?
  7. What can I expect for my recovery in treatment, medication, diet and home care?
  8. Could you tell me about your experience with this operation?
  9. Is the surgical facility accredited and adequately staffed?
  10. How much will the operation cost me, and what type of insurance do you take?
  11. Are all of the people involved in my operation covered by my insurance (anesthesia, pathology and radiology)?

What Should You Not Do Before Surgery?

Many health conditions can affect the outcome of your surgery. Now that you know the important questions to ask before your operation, it's time to put together a list of things you should not do before surgery. Be sure to discuss the following with your healthcare provider and ask if there is any other critical information you need to know that is not included in the list below:

  • Do not eat or drink after a specific time, the evening before or day of surgery.
  • Try to cut down or quit smoking. Patients who smoke are more susceptible to infections. Additionally, smoking may affect blood circulation and delay healing.
  • Do not consume any alcohol for at least 48 hours before surgery.
  • Stop taking blood thinners two weeks before surgery. Blood thinners make it harder for your blood to clot and can prolong bleeding during your surgery.
  • If you use any controlled substances, tell your doctor. Opioids and other drugs can cause complications and impact your surgery.
  • Do not take any supplements, herbs, vitamins or minerals before surgery unless you get clearance from your health care provider.
  • Avoid shaving the area or near the site of the operation. Shaving can irritate your skin, making it easier to develop an infection.

What Should I Pack for Surgery?

The 24 hours before your surgery may be a busy time for you and your loved ones. Here's a checklist to make sure you have packed everything you need for your surgery or procedure:

  • A pair of flat and comfortable walking slippers with rubber or nonskid soles
  • A lightweight camisole or cotton shirt to wear under your hospital gown
  • Reading materials, such as books or magazines
  • A copy of your insurance cards, advance medical directives, medical history and a small amount of money
  • Medications you take regularly
  • Eyeglasses with a case (instead of contact lenses)
  • Personal care items, such as toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, denture case and razor (electric only), but be sure to leave your credit cards and jewelry at home
  • Loose-fitting clothes, such as a sweatsuit and comfortable shoes to wear when you go home
  • Your cellphone and charger, plus important telephone numbers of friends and relatives

What Questions Should You Ask After Surgery?

Patients may experience pain after surgery, while others may develop side effects or even complications after an operation. Some people have a greater risk of complications with underlying medical conditions. Swelling and soreness around the site of the cut are common. Your surgeon will inform you what side effects to expect before and after surgery.

Complications that may develop with surgery include any one or a combination of the following:

  • Infection
  • Too much bleeding
  • Reaction to anesthesia
  • Accidental injury

The following are some of the questions to ask your doctor following your operation:

  • How long will I be in the hospital?
  • What kind of supplies, equipment and help will I need when I go home?
  • When can I go back to work?
  • When is it ok for me to start exercising again?
  • Are there any restrictions on my activities?

Do not hesitate to ask questions before discharge to clarify any confusion about your care. Remember, asking now can save you a trip to the hospital later.

Insurances and Payment Plan Options

If you have a surgery you've been putting off, let us help you get all the information you need to decide on your healthcare. Click here to learn more about MetroWest Medical Center's range of surgical services, or call 508-383-1280.

Begin your journey to better health at MetroWest Medical Center. We accept various insurance plans and offer options for a flexible payment plan to help you get the quality care that you need when you need it the most. We offer payment plans for most treatments and procedures, including but not limited to the following:

  • Knee procedures
  • Hip procedures
  • Back procedures
  • Acid reflux (GERD)
  • Hernia repair
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Menstrual pain relief
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Colonoscopy
  • Sleep disorders

Our dedicated staff is ready to address your insurance and billing questions and make financial arrangements. Please call 833-784-5421 or visit our patient financial resources page for your billing and insurance questions. If you have specific questions about your coverage, you may contact your insurance provider directly.

Find a Surgeon in Natick and Framingham

We understand that having any surgery can be stressful. It's important to raise any topic you're worried about, so your doctor can help you understand and discuss the best treatment options for your condition. Do not hesitate to reach out to your doctor and healthcare team to get all the information you need before your surgery.

We aim to help you get the quality care you deserve through compassionate service with some of the latest technology and procedures available in our Natick and Framingham locations. Let us help you feel better. Please call us at 800-872-5473 or find a surgeon here near you. If it's an emergency, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.