Friday, May 3, 2013


While surgeries carry some form of risk for a patient, many complications can be prevented through simple communication. There are many steps that patients can take before they even get to the hospital, and the most important is to make sure you’re informed about everything your procedure will include.  

Be sure to speak with your doctor about all aspects of the procedure. Direct communication with your surgeon regarding your concerns is the best way to gain an understanding, reduce misconceptions about surgery and plan your recovery.

Remember to talk with your surgeon about any medications you are taking for chronic conditions. Be sure to ask what to expect after the surgery and what you can do to help the recovery process. Patients also should know that their healthcare team will follow specific procedures to ensure the best possible outcomes. Prior to receiving anesthesia, for example, the surgeon may confirm your procedure as well as what body part and what side is involved.

Typically, this includes marking the actual site so it is visible during surgery while you are unable to talk.
Many times, a surgeon also will prescribe an antibiotic to be taken shortly before the procedure. This is done to help prevent infection at the surgical site, which could slow recovery following an operation. Additionally, once you are sedated and in the operating room, your surgical team will conduct a formal pause before starting. This pause – called a time-out – allows the team to check the patient name and ID number, identify the procedure to be done, and check to be sure all equipment and medications are in the room. This process only takes a few moments but it plays a big role in reducing operating errors and ensuring patient safety.

Surgeons lead a very large team dedicated to providing you with a safe, positive experience both during and after surgery. This is a very big responsibility. Trust and open communication are integral pieces of the doctor-patient relationship and are paramount to a successful outcome and a positive patient experience.

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