Dr. Cynara Coomer Prepares You for Surgery: Ask the Right Questions

Dr Cynara Coomer Dr. Cynara Coomer Prepares You for Surgery: Ask the Right Questions Photo

Dr. Cynara Coomer

Dr. Cynara Coomer gives advice on how to prepare yourself for surgery.  As a surgeon herself, she encourages patients to ask as many questions prior to going under the knife. Although the physician does this for a living on a daily basis, it is new to you.  Here are some “must-ask” questions that will help you feel more comfortable before, during and after your scheduled surgery.

Questions you should ask before going into surgery:

1. What does the surgery entail?
Make sure you understand exactly what will be done in the procedure. Also ask how long it will take to complete the surgery. I encourage my patients to do some research before coming to the hospital. But, please don’t go overboard. I’ve had patients get on the Internet and work themselves into a panic. To avoid doing that, just ask your doctor!

2. Who will be performing the surgery?
Make sure the attending surgeon will be the physician performing your surgery. This may seem like a no-brainer but make sure you ask. You’ll be surprised how many times surgeons, other than your own, are scheduled to do the treatment.

3. What type of anesthesia will I have?
There are three types of anesthesia you may need to have during surgery. Local anesthesia numbs only a small area and lasts for a short time period. Regional anesthesia, like an epidural given to a woman in labor, is given near a cluster of nerves which will numb a larger area of your body. General anesthesia is used to put a patient to “sleep” and make them unconscious. This means you won’t have any awareness or memory of the procedure.

4. How long will I be in the hospital?
Some procedures require a long recovery time in the hospital. In this case it’s important to get all of your affairs in order beforehand. You may have to take off time from work, schedule bill payments in advance, or arrange childcare. For most surgeries, you will only need to stay in the hospital for a few days, if at all. I’m sure you will anticipate going home but just know that you will be getting the best possible care in the hospital.

5. What is the recovery time?
It’s important to have a long-term plan after having surgery, especially if you will need to take off from work. Sometimes you will require physical therapy or other treatments. You might have to have a family member or friend take you to follow up appointments as well.

6. What types of activities can I do?
Any kind of surgery is taxing on the body. You need to give your body time to heal. Ask your doctor what types of activities you should avoid right after surgery. Sometimes you will be asked to get up right after surgery and walk around. Other times, your doctor will limit your activities greatly.

7. Will I need a visiting nurse once I’m home?
A little help could be just what the doctor ordered. Depending on what kind of surgery you had and your age, a visiting nurse could be a life-saver. Most insurance companies will pay for part or all of this type of care and it’s worth looking into. Talk to your doctor about whether having a nurse help you would benefit your recovery.

(source: foxnews health blog)