by Sahana Krishnamurthy, PT, MSPT
As a physical therapist involved deeply in the care of post-operative patients, I strongly recommend patients to ask several questions to their surgeon. You’ll achieve the best results from a surgery if you and your surgeon communicate openly and work together to achieve realistic goals. An understanding of your goals, expectations and motivation is essential to a successful partnership between you and your surgeon; helping both of you to determine whether surgery is the right choice for you.
Here is a list of medical questions that you might want to ask prior to surgery:
- What are my treatment options other than surgery?
- Where can I learn about my surgical procedure?
- What is my overall recovery time?
- Pain medications- how long will I need them?
- How can I prepare myself mentally and physically for the surgery?
Be sure to discuss the need for family assistance following surgery. Ask the surgeon if physical therapy prior to the surgery will be beneficial in increasing post-op results or decreasing healing time.
Be sure to discuss important details of what to expect in the time just after the surgical procedure.
- Ask about sutures, scar care and signs of infection.
- Discuss possible post op complications, such as allergic reactions.
- Discuss pain management after surgery.
It is critical to ask how the surgery will affect your quality of life.
- When can I walk after surgery? Will I need assistive devices such as crutches?
- Will I need assistance at home? If yes, how long will I need assistance?
- When will I be able to shower?
- When can I drive?
- When can I use the stairs?
- When can I return to work? Will I need any modifications at work?
Questions you need to ask before returning to sports:
- When can I return to playing sports? Also discuss return to recreational vs competitive sports.
- Can I return to running? If yes, when? If not, what are the possible effects?
- Will I be at risk for re-injury?
- Are there any activities that I should avoid completely?
Please remember it is best to be fully informed about your treatment plan and the options that you have. If surgery is your best choice, be sure to fully understand what the process is- from pre-op through rehabilitation. Remember, keeping open lines of communication with your surgeon improves your surgical outcome.
Sahana Krishnamurthy, PT MSPT has been practicing at BreakThrough Physical Therapy since 2011. Sahana strongly believes in educating her patients during their course of treatment so they can take control over their situation by asking the right questions to their physicians. While not working, she enjoys hiking with her family and watching soccer games.