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Surgery 101

Questions To Ask After Surgery

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After surgery, it is advisable to at least ask the surgeon the following questions: (Feel free to print these questions):

  • Was there anything unexpected that happened during surgery? If so, what?  Will it complicate recovery? 
  • If there are stitches or staples, when will they come out?
  • What will I need at home to have a smooth recovery? If I need special equipment, who do I talk to about arranging it?
  • What should I do about the incision?  For how long? For instance:
    • Should I change the dressings? If so, when? Are there special instructions to follow when changing a dressing?
    • Are there dressings I shouldn't touch? There are some dressing that doctors want to fall off on their own.
    • Are there exercises you want me to do? If so, what exercise? Is there a specific way you want me to do the exercise? How often? How long each time?
  • What activities should I not do - and for how long? For example, walking up and down steps, lifting weights, going back to work part time/full time.
  • When can I resume having sex?
  • If I have questions outside normal business hours, what number should I call?
  • When should I schedule a follow-up visit? 
NOTE: If you want to know what happened during the operation, you can ask the doctor or the hospital for a copy of the report about the operation. The report
describes what the doctor did and what he or she found during the surgery. The report can be e-mailed, faxed or mailed to you. (You are legally entitled to a copy of the report just as you are entitled to a copy of all your medical records. For information about your medical records, click here.)

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