You’ve spent the last few months trying undergoing various conservative treatments, such as physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic therapy, and maybe even injections. You’ve experienced some relief but the pain and discomfort is still there. You speak with your doctor and he tells you that the last remaining option is surgery. So what do you do?
Undergoing a surgery is an invasive procedure and shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you are questioning the need for the surgery, you can ask your adjuster to have a second opinion with another surgeon before making your decision. Second opinions allow you to get an unbiased opinion on your remaining treatment options from a new perspective. And in my opinion, everyone should have a second opinion before moving forward with any surgery, whether minor or small. You’d be surprised at the different options that another doctor could present you with.
In addition, before making the decision, you should discuss the following questions with your doctor:
What is the success/failure rate for the surgery?
Do you have any preexisting conditions that could affect your recovery (diabetes, diabetes, obesity, etc)?
How long will the recovery take?
What treatments will you need to do post-operatively?
Will you need any post-operative medical equipment?
What will your activity level be following the surgery? Will you need assistance at home?
Will you be able to drive?
How long will you be off of work?
What type of pain medications will be prescribed?
Will the surgery be an outpatient procedure or will you need to spend the night in the hospital?
Where will the surgery take place? In a surgery center or hospital?
Will the surgery require general anesthesia or local anesthetic?
If the surgery is not successful, will you need an additional surgery or will you be stuck with the results?
Is the need for surgery urgent or can you wait? If you can wait to have the surgery, how long can you postpone it and how will postponing the surgery affect you?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and voice your concerns with your doctor. Take your time and make sure that you are completely informed regarding all of the pros and cons of the surgery before you make your final decision. Don’t feel pressured to undergo a procedure that you are not 100% comfortable with. In addition, don’t forget that you can consult with a Nurse Case Manager or Nurse Advocate for additional assistance with surgery education, planning, and management.
Lolita Korneagay, RN, BSN, MBA, ALNC is a Registered Nurse and Patient Advocate that has over a decade of experience with assisting patients recovery from illness and injuries. She provides expert medical consulting to patients, employers, insurance companies, and attorneys regarding healthcare claims. For a consultation, visit www.korneagaylnc.com for additional information.