Do you have an issue in your foot or ankle that you are considering solving with surgery? Here are questions to ask before getting a foot or ankle surgery.
Ankle injuries in the United States are common, affecting about 23,000 people every day.
Foot or ankle injuries can be excruciatingly painful. So unless you plan to live with the pain for a good long time, then your best move is to consult your foot doctor. Depending on the severity of the injury or condition, they may suggest a foot or ankle surgery for your treatment.
Most people are scared of any type of surgery, let alone foot surgery. The vast majority of these people have never had any surgery. Thus they have no idea that most surgeries are quick and painless.
Considering surgical errors occur at least 4000 times every year, you may be justified to have reservations about surgeries. However, you can decrease the chances of a surgery-gone-wrong by taking the right precautions. One of these precautions is asking the right questions before going for surgery.
In this piece, we’ll look at essential questions you should ask before undergoing foot or ankle surgery. That way, you can be confident about going through with the surgery and your foot surgeon.
What Should You Ask Before a Foot or Ankle Surgery?
Foot or ankle surgery is a very sensitive procedure. Any wrong move could render you permanently injured, or even worse, disabled. However, if you arm yourself with the right questions, you improve the chances of a successful surgery.
Before any surgery, the institution or healthcare expert will give you as much information as they can about your surgery. For most people, this information is just not enough. If you’re due for surgery, here are a couple of questions you should consider asking your surgeon.
What Is the Reason for the Surgery
Most medical experts would only recommend surgery as a last resort. Surgeons conduct most surgeries to restore function or alleviate pain. If there are other alternative treatments, it’s highly unlikely that the doctor will recommend surgery.
Have your medical professional establish exactly why you need the surgery. Ensure you understand how the surgery will help your current condition or injury.
Also, do your research to make sure you’ve exhausted all other possibilities before you settle for surgery, which leads us to our next point.
Are There Any Alternatives to Surgery
In most cases, there are better, less risky alternatives to surgery. Sometimes a simple lifestyle change is enough to remedy your condition. Maybe lay off the sugar, excess salt, or change your running routine and your foot will be as fine.
Apart from changing your running routine and method or lifestyle, the doctor could also prescribe some meds for your condition. These meds vary from tablets to topicals or injections.
Sometimes your foot doctor may recommend a “watchful waiting” approach. This means the doctor will start treatment with other alternatives and monitor how you respond to the treatment. If your condition worsens, then the doctor may approve you for surgery.
Are There Any Risks or Complications With the Surgery
The medical expert should be clear of all the risks and complications should anything go wrong. Surgery is a very risky procedure, but in most cases, the benefits outweigh the risks. The doctor should be very candid about the risks so you can decide for yourself if the surgery is worth undergoing.
Expect complications like swelling, pain, bleeding, or some side effects after surgery. Most of these complications are temporary and will only last until a few weeks after the surgery.
Pain is highly likely after the surgery. However, this pain will subside after some time and can be managed with pain medication.
Once you know all the risks with your surgery, you can decide whether to go ahead with the procedure.
What If I Don’t Get the Surgery?
You can always opt not to have surgery. However, this choice has its consequences. You should be well aware of what will happen if you don’t get surgery.
Mostly, your condition is likely to worsen. However, in some rare cases, the condition goes away with time. However, your condition getting better by itself is something you shouldn’t put your money on.
Be that as it may, it doesn’t hurt to ask your doctor whether it’s a good idea to skip surgery. Plus, remember, the doctor is always right.
The Surgeon’s Certifications, Track Record and Experience
You don’t want to put your foot in the hands of an inexperienced surgeon. It may seem a bit brash, but you have a right to ask about the person handling your surgery. Ask for experience, certifications, and testimonials if possible.
Don’t fall for vague answers like “a lot of experience,” instead the surgeon should answer with actual figures. The surgeon should comfortably tell you how many surgeries they have handled in the past.
Having an experienced and competent foot and ankle surgeon handle your case reduces the surgery risks. Also, try to find out how many of these surgeries were successful.
If you can, inquire more about the unsuccessful surgery attempts. That way, you know what you’re getting yourself into when you opt for the surgery.
The Type of Anaesthesia
It’s a good idea to know what type of anesthesia to be administered during your surgery. There are many types of anesthesia, and knowing the one for your surgery will better prepare you for the procedure.
You should also ask why the medic prefers that specific anesthesia. Also, ask who will be administering the anesthetic. An anesthesiologist is the best person for the job, but this isn’t always the case.
For minor surgeries, the surgeon or a nurse can administer the anesthetic.
How Much Will the Surgery Cost
You’d be surprised at just how cheap or expensive a foot surgery could be. So before you go for surgery, ensure you know how much you’re paying for it. Also, liaise with your insurance to find out if they cover foot surgery.
Ask the Right Questions for a Proper Surgery
Don’t hold back any questions you have about your foot or ankle surgery. They will greatly determine the outcome of your surgery. The right questions help you make the right decision and also find the right surgeon.
Always remember to check your surgeon’s certifications and experience. That’s because a single mistake could leave you disabled for life.
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