See a list of
Decision Points about surgeries. Decision Points are designed to guide you through key
health decisions, combining medical information with your personal values
to make a wise health decision.
Surgery tends to come
with high costs and risks. When the choice to have surgery is not clear, good
decisions are even more important.
Learn the facts
What is the name of the surgery? Get a
description of the surgery.
Why does your doctor think you need the
Are there other treatments you could try
Is this surgery the common treatment for this problem? Are
there other types of surgery?
many similar surgeries has this doctor performed? How many surgeries like this
are done at this hospital or medical center?
What results would you have to get from
the surgery for you to consider it a success? How likely are those
What can go wrong if you have surgery? How often does this
How long would it take to recover from surgery? How much
time off would you have to take? What kind of rehab would you
What happens in the short term if you don't have surgery?
What might happen over the long run if you don't have it?
need surgery, where should you have it? How can you reduce the chance of an
Ask about costs
How much does the surgery cost? How can you
Can it be done on an outpatient basis, and is that less
Talk to your doctor
How much does the problem really bother you?
Are you willing to put up with the symptoms to avoid surgery?
are your concerns about the surgery?
Do you want to have the
surgery at this time?
Do you want a second opinion? Second opinions
are helpful if you have any doubt that the surgery proposed is the best option
for your problem. If you want a second opinion, ask your primary doctor or
surgeon to recommend another specialist. Ask that your test results be sent to
the second doctor. Consider getting an opinion from a different type of doctor
who treats similar problems.