Key Questions to Ask Your Orthopedic Surgeon

Patient speaking to orthopedic surgeon

The best way to feel confident going into your orthopedic surgery is to make sure you have all the information possible beforehand. Here are the questions to ask!

Undergoing surgery is a major life decision, and it’s natural you have a lot of questions: What are the risks? How long will my recovery take? When can I return to my normal activities? Those concerns are especially true when you’re preparing for an orthopedic surgery. The best way to lessen your nerves and prevent delaying your procedure is to get answers to all those questions so you can feel confident about every aspect of your procedure. 

Before having any orthopedic procedure, we recommend you ask these key questions of your orthopedic surgeon. The answers will go a long way to making the surgery and recovery go as smoothly as possible.

Six questions to ask your orthopedic surgeon

Orthopedic surgery involves repairing joints, ligaments, tendons, and bones. For some conditions, it may be the best option to relieve pain, restore your mobility, and improve your quality of life. 

Preparing yourself beforehand so you know all the facts is vital for a successful outcome. You’ll feel less nervous when you know what to expect. Before scheduling the surgery, meet with your orthopedic surgeon and ask these questions:

What are my options?

Inquire about all options available to you. For example, you may need only a partial knee replacement instead of a full replacement. Ask the surgeon why they believe surgery is your best alternative, or if non-surgical methods, such as physical therapy, could work just as well. In some cases, surgery will be the only option, but it’s important that you know all the possibilities before jumping into surgery.

What are the risks?

Every surgery entails some degree of risk. Your surgeon should clearly state what those risks are and measures they will take to reduce those risks during and after the surgery. You will be given a consent form, too. Read it thoroughly before signing. If you want an explanation of any point on the form, talk to your surgeon for further clarification before you sign.

How many surgeries like this have you performed?

Working with an experienced surgeon is the best way to ensure that your procedure and recovery will be a success. Asking a surgeon how many of these procedures they’ve performed is a good way to get a sense of their experience so you can feel confident about their abilities. 

How long will I be in the hospital?

Every surgery is different. Some surgeries can be done in one day and you can leave the same day as the operation. Others may require a longer hospital stay before you can head home. Your surgeon can give you an estimate of how many days you’ll spend in the hospital and how long it’ll be before you can return to your job (this number will obviously differ depending on what kind of work you do and whether or not you work remotely). That way, you can plan ahead.

How long will it take to recover?

Not only do recovery times differ based on the type of surgery you’re getting, but everyone heals at a different pace, meaning it’s hard to know exactly how long it will take for you to recover from your orthopedic procedure. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get an estimate ahead of time. Your surgeon should provide a timeline of your recovery and whether you’ll need follow-up physical therapy. The surgeon will advise you on what activities to avoid until you’re fully healed, as well. It’s also a good idea to ask the surgeon if you’ll need to make any special arrangements for your home care after the surgery.

Will there be any limitations after my surgery? 

Again, much depends on the individual and the severity of their condition, however that doesn’t mean you can’t get any insights beforehand. Based on previous surgeries and recoveries, your surgeon should have a good idea of if other patients have experienced any limitations post-surgery. In general, you should be able to resume your daily activities at nearly 100 percent after a successful surgery and recovery. But if that isn’t going to be the case, it’s important that you know that beforehand.

We’re here to answer your orthopedic surgery questions

There’s no doubt that preparing for surgery can be overwhelming, but asking the right questions can help you make an informed decision and feel more confident about the process. At New York Bone & Joint Specialists, our physicians have performed hundreds of orthopedic surgeries. That means they have the expertise to answer all your questions and make the most informed recommendation as to whether or not you need surgery, or if there are other, non-surgical treatment options you can try. No matter what recommendation we make, we will answer all your questions so you know what to expect. Contact us today for a consultation.

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