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Health Beat: 8 questions to ask your doctor before surgery

By Melanie Falcon, Anchor / Reporter, @Melanie_Falcon, MFalcon@wfmz.com
Published On: Apr 11 2013 10:55:26 AM CDT
Updated On: Apr 11 2013 04:47:06 PM CDT

Every year, more than 15 million people in the U.S. have some kind of surgery.

Every year, more than 15 million people in the U.S. have some kind of surgery. 

When it’s your turn to go under the knife, will you know what to ask your doctor?

Surgery isn't typically something you want to rush into, unless it's an emergency.  So, if you have time to prepare, there are some questions you want to make sure to ask.

Take Theresa Griffiths, for example. She recently needed a hysterectomy and spent three months researching. 

"I wanted to be fully informed and make a wise decision on who I’m entrusting my health to. I came in with a notepad of questions, and I wrote them all down,” Griffiths said.

Patients should be asking more questions, said Dr. Arnold Advincula, Florida Hospital Celebration Health.

"Unfortunately, a lot of patients put less effort into figuring out their doctors than they do when they go out and buy a car," Advincula explained.

The doctor said you should always ask: What is your success rate for this procedure? And, what is your complication rate? Those numbers should be equal to or less than national averages.

“I think if your surgeon has difficulty answering those questions, then you should think twice," said Advincula.

Also ask: How many of these procedures have you performed?  Where did you receive your training? And what medical societies do you belong to?   

"It’s important to find out what are your doctor's qualifications. Are they qualified to be doing the procedure?” he said.

When it comes to the actual surgery, ask: What are the benefits and risks? Why am I having this done? And are there any alternatives?

The doctor said two other major medical mistakes include not getting a second opinion and relying on too much Internet information.

As for Griffiths, her surgery was a success and she said having her questions answered gave her peace of mind. 

"You have every right in the world to really be extremely informed about such a critical issue in your life," she said.

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