Ask These Questions Before Surgery to Make Sure You’ve Found the Right Doctor For the Job

It’s important to trust your doctor.

By Melanie Haid
doctor's appointment

Imagine going under for a surgery that you were told would improve your quality of life — or even save it — only to later realize it was unnecessary. That’s exactly what happened to Ladajea and Tabitha. These two women had hysterectomies for no reason under the direction of their OBGYN, Dr. Javaid Perwaiz. They both came on The Dr. Oz Show on March 5, 2020 to share their stories — a story that 200 of Dr. Perwaiz’s patients share.

While this type of malpractice may be a rare occurrence and most recommended surgeries are a good idea, it brings up an interesting point and PSA for everyone. It’s important to know what doctors are doing to your body and to research procedures thoroughly before making an appointment.

It’s necessary to ask questions before surgery so your doctor can explain not only the procedure, but also why you need it and how it will help you. OBGYN Dr. Evelyn Minaya joined Dr. Oz to talk about the Dr. Perwaiz case, but also offered tips for those undergoing any type of procedure, not just hysterectomies. Here are her tips to make sure you’re getting the best care possible every time.

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First, Check Out Your Doctor

You should always do research on your doctor or surgeon before making an appointment. You should be able to trust your doctor and part of that trust is knowing he or she is qualified to care for you. Make sure the doctor has proper certification by researching his or her background and training online. Dr. Minaya says the doctor should be accredited in the procedure he or she is performing on you. You can also look up reviews from other patients to get the opinion of people who already see him or her. While this won’t tell you if he or she is qualified, it will give you insight into his or her bedside manner.

“Your doctor is your partner,” says Dr. Minaya. Whether it’s just a general wellness visit or a discussion about a major surgery, you should feel that your doctor is your partner who is listening to you and addressing your concerns. You should feel comfortable asking them any and all questions you have and know you will get honest answers.

Questions to Ask Before Surgery

Dr. Minaya says that there are 10 key questions you should ask before scheduling a surgical procedure. Aside from making sure that your doctor is giving you sound advice, these questions are beneficial in helping you become educated about both surgery and recovery.

  1. How many of these surgeries have you performed? Experienced doctors will be able to provide a proven track record of success.
  2. Is surgery the best way to solve my problem? Find out if surgery is the way to go or if there are alternative treatments you may want to try first. There isn’t one way to solve a problem, so make sure to identify and consider all options. 
  3. Can you explain the procedure to me? Have your doctor show you exactly what the surgery entails whether it’s with a diagram, model, or photo. Make sure the reasoning for any removal is clearly described and you understand exactly why everything is being done.
  4. What should I expect the day of surgery? Identify details like how to prepare before coming in, how long the procedure is, and when you can be discharged.
  5. Can I go home the same day, or do I have to stay at the hospital? Some surgeries require monitoring and therefore some doctors will keep you overnight.
  6. What type of anesthesia will be used? There are many different types of anesthesia used during surgery, with different effects. Have your doctor identify what will be used so you know what to expect and can identify any potential side effects.
  7. What is the plan for pain relief? Ask about your medication plan following the surgery. Make sure to ask why you’ll be in pain, what to expect, and what medication would best suit your needs.
  8. When can I go back to work? You should know how long you need to rest before returning to work so you can make a plan for your absence.
  9. When can I resume my normal routine? You likely won’t be able to get back to all your routine functions immediately. Get a realistic idea of when you will be able to exercise, drive, do chores, etc.
  10. How do you know that it worked? Follow-up appointments are important to make sure you are healing and have no unexpected side effects.

If your doctor is unable to answer all of these questions clearly, and to your level of understanding, you may want to look for another doctor. Even if you do feel comfortable with the doctor you selected, getting a second opinion when it comes to surgery is always a good idea. If you’re putting your life and your health into someone’s hands, it should be someone who you can trust.

Related:

The Questions Dr. Oz Wants You to Ask Your Doctor

Why It's Important to Be Honest With Your Doctor

How to Find the Right Gynecologist

Article written by Melanie Haid