While most of us see our health issues resolved without major surgery – there are instances where a medical device such as a pacemaker or stint may be required. While you want to protect your health and well-being, you also want to make sure you are making the right decision and fully understand the implications of such a major decision. Fight the tendency we all have to blank out in the examination room, and remember this list of questions you should ask your doctor before agreeing to a medical device implantation or surgery.
“What should I expect during surgery?” – Find out how long the surgery will take, what type of anesthesia you will be using, possible complications, and where it will take place.
“How will I have to change my lifestyle?” – Any surgery can slow you down for a few days, but you should know how long recovery will take, what the rehabilitation process involves, and any other special considerations that will affect your day-to-day activities.
“What will happen if I choose not to do the surgery?” – You should be aware of treatment alternatives and weigh the risks and benefits before agreeing to a surgery outright. You may even want to consider getting a second opinion from another health professional to strengthen or confirm your decision.
“Where can I find research and information about my surgery?” – Anyone can do an internet search that will yield hundreds, if not thousands, of articles and websites about a surgery; however, it’s important to make sure you are basing your decision on sound and accurate information. Your doctor can likely point you in the direction of some credible resources and may even have some for you to take home.
Every medical procedure, no matter how routine or beneficial, has risks and it’s important to be fully informed and educated before signing on the dotted line of consent.