If you’re considering elective surgery – to improve your appearance or correct breathing problems, etc. – you want to be sure you have all the information you need to make the best decisions. As the prospective patient, it’s your responsibility to make sure you fully understand what the procedure entails and the results you might realistically expect. It’s important to choose the right surgeon, too.
Knowing what questions to ask before undergoing surgery will help you feel confident you’re making the right choices. So what should you ask?
- What is your medical training and experience?
Specialized training is very important. You shouldn’t choose a cardiac surgeon to work on your face, or a cosmetic surgeon to replace your knee. Look for a surgeon who is board-certified and fellowship-trained specifically for the type of surgery you’re considering. Ask how many of these procedures he or she has successfully completed – in their career and in the past year. Experience improves skill and reduces the complication rate.
- Exactly what does the procedure entail?
Your surgeon should explain what he or she will do during the procedure and how that helps achieve your aesthetic or functional goals. The surgeon should also clearly explain the possible risks and side-effects. Ask if your personal medical history or current health status may increase risks.
In addition to knowing what your surgeon will do, ask what you should do before and after the surgery, to ensure you have the most successful experience possible.
- Why do I need those pre-op tests?
If you’re told you need one or more tests prior to undergoing surgery, ask if they are medically necessary. The most ethical surgeons put you first – never recommending tests or procedures you don’t need. Sometimes you do need that test, especially if you have a chronic health condition or other indicator of potential risk.
- How safe is the surgical facility?
Each year, hundreds of thousands of people develop infections while in the hospital -- usually surgical-site infections or pneumonia. Insist on a hospital or surgical center that is not only licensed but accredited, because this indicates the facility and staff meet the highest equipment and training standards. You can ask about their infection-rate record.
- How much will the surgery cost?
Generally speaking, health insurance does not cover cosmetic or other elective surgical procedures. However, corrective surgery such as rhinoplasty to repair a deviated septum may be considered medically necessary, in which case it may be covered. If you’re having rhinoplasty for both aesthetic and functional reasons, part of your surgery may be covered. So talk with your insurance company before you make any final decisions.
Since there’s a good chance that 100% of the bill will come to you, ask for an itemized list of the costs associated with your procedure. In addition to the surgeon’s fee, it should include other professional fees such as anesthesia, the surgical facility fee, supplied and medications used, and routine post-op follow-up visits.
- When can we meet?
You may be able to find basic information about the surgery you’re considering via online research. But that won’t tell you everything you need to know. Each person is different, so any surgical procedure should be tailored to your body and desired results. Plus, every surgeon is an individual, too. You want to find the surgeon whose combination of skill, approach and personality that makes you feel most comfortable and confident.
There’s only one way to do that: schedule a personal consultation. The right surgeon will happily and clearly answer every one of your questions. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Raval, please click the button below!