Most patients with any trouble or abnormalities with their hands and fingers usually prefer non-surgical treatments. Often, this type of therapy does the trick to cure hand problems. However, it doesn’t always work this way, as there may be instances where a surgical procedure is necessary.
As daunting as it may seem, there are questions you can ask your surgeon before you hire him/her and get on with the procedure. Having answers to these questions will help ease your mind and allow you to feel more comfortable before the operation begins.
Here are questions for you to ask a hand surgeon before hiring one:
- What are your qualifications as a surgeon?
You should be able to know if your surgeon is a highly-qualified one, as it helps to know how their education can support the type of operation they’re about to perform. This procedure, after all, affects your body, your mobility, and your well-being. Generally, a surgeon’s qualifications are also provided on the hospital’s website or your surgeon’s clinic’s website, such as that of gppconline.com/paul-paterson-md. After doing your prior research before your first meeting, you will know where to start interviewing your surgeon about their qualifications and field of specialization.
- Why is this procedure/surgery recommended?
It is understandable that your knowledge with medical-related concerns will never be as vast as that of your doctor’s. As a patient, the fear arises when you are not sure why surgery is recommended, or why other options like medication or physical therapy aren’t utilized instead. As a surgical procedure also involves costs, it is highly beneficial for you to know the reason why surgery is the best option for you so that you can be comforted in the thought that undergoing the procedure is for your benefit.
- What are the preparations I should make before the surgery, and what should my expectations be during and after the procedure?
Your surgeon should be able to give you answers to these questions, as it is vital for you to know the preparations that you must undertake and your post-operation expectations. It will be very enlightening for you as a patient if your surgeon can explain the totality of the situation as clearly as possible, especially if you do not have any medical background.
- What is the success rate of this surgery, and what are the risks that it involves?
Before hiring your surgeon, be sure that he/she is open to answer questions that may be highly sensitive for them, such as success rates and risks. Admittedly, no procedure guarantees a 100% success rate; there will always be risks involved. Your surgeon should inform you about this, as after all, the last decision whether or not to push through with the procedure lies with you. Your surgeon should be able to help you make an informed decision — you should be made fully aware of both the benefits and potential negative consequences of the operation.
- What is the recovery process?
Your surgeon should be of help to you not only during the procedure but even during the recovery. He/she should be able to enlighten you as to whether or not you will be mobile or immobile, and if so, for how long. You may want to get back to your job, your favorite sports, yoga, or whatever it is you love to do! This fact is essential for you to know even before your surgery as you should be able to prepare for your recovery care, if necessary, by getting help in doing tasks or moving around. Your surgeon should also inform you ahead of time how you should take care of yourself, your health, your scars, or your surgery wound.
- How long will the procedure be, and how is it done?
Before you make a final decision about the surgeon to help you with your hand problems, he/she must be patient with you, and this should come from understanding, again, that you do not have expert knowledge about your specific hand surgery. Your surgeon should be able to guide you through the whole process and inform you how long it will take, and what it is that they will be doing with your hands.
- What are the consequences that can arise from refusing to undergo the hand surgery needed?
A good surgeon will be able to provide you with a comprehensive explanation of this matter, and an honest one too. He/she should inform you of the possible consequences, should you decide not to push through with your hand surgery for whatever reason. These details are not intended to pressure you into going through with the operation against your will, but it is to make you feel even more confident that no matter how much you dread a surgery, this is and will always be for your good.
- What types of anesthesia will you use, and will I be in pain after the surgery?
Minor surgeries will entail only minor anesthesia, but more significant problems like those related with your joints will need general anesthesia. You should be able to discuss this with your surgeon, so you will also be informed of the risks and effects of the anesthetic medicine that will be injected into your body. You should have an open line of communication with your surgeon, even as to topics like possible pain afterward, so you are aware of what you should be expecting.
All these questions will also help your doctor get to know you better, and what it is you would like to accomplish later on after your surgery. The personal goals of patients are very different from each other, and it is helpful for a surgeon to get to know these as well, as they will see the extent of the surgery work that they have to do. Better yet, questions like these will help you set realistic expectations of each other during your patient-doctor relationship. So, ask away! You’ll feel much more confident about your hired hand surgeon after you do.