Know about your condition:
If you are considering surgery, you should have a good diagnosis or name of your orthopedic condition. Researching your diagnosis can go a long way in helping you understand what needs to happen for your best recovery.
- Is this the right treatment for my problem or condition?
- What should I expect before during and after my surgery?
- What will it cost? Is this surgery covered by my insurance?
- How long is the recovery?
- Will there be pain?
- How much physical therapy is involved?
Know how and when to get a second opinion
If you are having surgery of any kind, a second opinion is generally a good idea. Most insurances will cover a second opinion and if not – most fees are reasonable. 2nd opinions can often be performed over a video conference or with a medical record review. Both methods require that a specialist views your diagnostic films or imaging.
When considering the time and effort as well as a potentially long recovery, it is often worth it to obtain a second opinion. It is important that your 2nd opinion is done by a qualified physician. “Dr. Google” has not had enough years of experience or hands-on treatment to give proper advice. See a “real” expert for your second opinion.
Know your options
You should consider, before surgery if every non-surgical option has been explored. Some patients benefit by injections or biologic medicine. If these have not been explored, ask if they would help you.
Patients should also ask: Is the planned surgery the right surgery for your condition? Is the surgery enough, too much? Will the surgery solve your pain and range of motion issues?
Get to know your orthopedic surgeon
How skilled is your surgeon and is there a better, more talented surgeon for your specific orthopedic condition? Does your surgeon have extensive, successful experience?
You can find out a lot about the surgeon you have selected to do your surgery by reading their on-line reviews, talking to former patients, and by talking to the doctor. Primary care physicians often refer to the surgeons they trust in the field of orthopedics, so you might ask their advice. If you don’t feel comfortable and completely certain your surgeon is the right “fit” for your treatment, you should look elsewhere.
Do you have a plan, do you know what to do?
When having an orthopedic surgery or procedure there are things you should do before, during and after your surgery:
- Stop smoking
- Eat healthy
- Lose weight if instructed to do so
- Exercise, if possible
- Complete any pre-surgery protocols your doctor has given you.
- Fill your medication, or let your caregiver know where to get your medicine if needed.
During the surgical process:
- Plan on arriving at the allotted surgery time and make sure you have a driver to take you home afterward.
- Plan on some pain.
- Be patient if the day doesn’t go as planned.
- Know what to expect for the days after surgery.
- Plan on exercising right away, either with help, or on a machine.
- Watch for signs of infection or problems.
- Take medication as instructed.
- Plan on doing your part for your own recovery – including physical therapy and any post-surgical protocols.
- Return to your surgeon for your post-surgery check-up.
- Be patient – surgery sometimes takes a while to recover, so be patient with yourself and your own recovery times.
Your orthopedic surgery and complete recovery will be easier and less stressful when you know these important things before having a surgical procedure.