Critical Questions to Ask your Surgeon

Critical Questions to Ask your SurgeonMillions of Americans have surgery each year, and well-informed patients tend to be more satisfied with the outcome of procedures. It is important to ask questions prior to any medical procedure. Ask your doctor to explain the answers clearly and ask for further clarification if you are having trouble understanding an explanation. Consider asking the following:

  • Why is the procedure needed? Ask your doctor to explain why this procedure is being recommended.
  • What are my alternatives? Are medications or nonsurgical treatments options for me?
  • What are the benefits of the surgery, and how long will they last? It is important to know the specific benefits for you. Also ask how long the benefits typically last.
  • What are the risks and possible complications? Surgery always carries some risks, so it is important to weigh the benefits against the risks.
  • What happens if you do not have the operation? If you decide not to have the operation, what will happen?
  • What is the doctor’s experience in doing this procedure? Choose a doctor who is thoroughly trained and experienced in doing the procedure. Ask about his or her experience with the procedure, including the number of times they’ve done it, and their record of successes, as well as complications.
  • Should I get a second opinion? Getting a second opinion can be an important step in ensuring that this option is right for you. (Of course, in the case of emergency surgeries, treatment should happen as quickly as possible. The necessity of getting a second opinion should always be weighed against the severity and urgency of the medical condition.)
  • What can I expect during recovery? You need to know how long you will be hospitalized and what limitations will be placed on you. Knowing ahead of time what to expect will help you to cope and recover more quickly following the surgery.

If you need an experienced General Surgeon, contact Dr. Johnson for a consultation.

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Choosing a Surgeon: What’s Best for You?

DrJohnsonChoosing a surgeon is very important considering that in many cases, he or she will literally have your life in their hands. Making sure that you have good communication, trust in the doctor’s ability, and accessibility/availability is key to finding the right surgeon for you.


No matter how well qualified your doctor may be, you will not have a good experience if you cannot effectively communicate your concerns and get an adequate response. Most patients need a doctor willing and able to spend time discussing their concerns. Do you feel like your doctor answers all your questions? Does he/she provide information in a way that you understand? Do you feel comfortable asking all of the questions you have?


Ask your doctor how often he/she performs the surgery you are having done. Most often you will not need to find someone who just performs your procedure, but you also don’t want a surgeon who has never performed the procedure you are having. Look for a doctor who regularly performs your surgery. It is okay to ask these questions:

o Do you feel comfortable performing this procedure?

o What is the average complication rate?

o What is your complication rate?

o Can I get a second opinion? o Are you board certified?


Is your doctor located in a place you can easily get to? Not only will it be more convenient for you, but it can also improve your rehabilitation. Your doctor will be close by to guide you and help if you encounter any problems.

If you call your doctor’s office, do they respond in a timely manner? How are on-call duties shared among your doctor’s practice partners? Will he/she be available or will someone else? Make sure that the surgeon you choose will be available to you in case you have a complication or if the surgery needs to be revised. A busy surgeon is usually a good surgeon, but a surgeon that is too busy to see patients is not an ideal choice. Read more online at: