Questions to Ask for A Safer Surgery or Procedure

Safety is everyone's responsibility. Your participation is the best way to ensure your own safety. When your doctor says you need surgery, you will want to find out as much as possible about it.

Questions you may want to ask:

  • Can you review in lay terms why I need this surgery?
  • What will happen if I don't have it done?
  • Where can I find data to compare the outcomes?
  • What are the alternatives to surgery?
  • What are the risks?
  • Are there any new methods of doing this surgery?
  • How many of these specific surgeries does this hospital do a year?
  • Will I be in the hospital and, if so, how long?
  • Is the surgery inpatient or outpatient?
  • Will I have local anesthesia or general?
  • How many times have you performed this procedure?
  • What kinds of complications do patients most frequently experience?
  • What should I do and not do immediately before and after surgery?
  • Is the operation painful? How much pain will I be in after surgery?
  • What painkillers will I be given?
  • How long does it take to recover?
  • Will I need physical therapy?
  • Who should I call after my surgery if I have questions?

Before your surgery, make sure that you and the health care professionals treating you all agree and are clear on exactly what will be done.

Doing surgery at the wrong site (for example, operating on the left knee instead of the right) is rare. But even once is too often. The good news is that wrong-site surgery is 100 percent preventable. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons urges its members to sign their initials directly on the site to be operated on before the surgery.