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Planning Successful Surgery
December 12, 2011
credit: Christian Broadcasting Network
Finding the Right Surgeon
When it comes time to select a surgeon for your operation, be sure to choose wisely. Unlike a primary care physician, you likely will not be having a long term relationship with the surgeon. Instead of focusing on demeanor, look for a specialist in the particular operation you are seeking.
Go to the source. Call the hospital operator during their slow time (3 p.m. - 5 p.m.) and ask an anesthesiologist who they would recommend. Anesthesiologists work day in and day out with surgeons and generally know who specializes in heart valve replacement or hip replacement. If you cannot reach an anesthesiologist, try to speak with the head nurse in the Operation Room.
Planning for a Successful Surgery
Get a second opinion before deciding to move forward with surgery. Doctor Michael Roizen of Cleveland Clinic says, "30% of the time a second opinion will change a major diagnosis." Despite that data, only 20% of patients get second opinions regarding major surgeries. Why is that? Many patients assume their insurance provider won't cover the costs of getting a second opinion. In general, most insurance companies will cover your second opinion appointment because, as Dr. Roizen puts it, "it saves them money if you only need a pill and not major surgery."
Second opinions are worth your while as they can help confirm a diagnosis, contradict a diagnosis and even modify the original diagnosis or treatment plan.
Increasing Your Chances of a Successful Surgery
Be sure to report any illegal drug usage or alternative medicine (glucosamine, gingko, etc) to the anesthesiologist as they can counteract with the anesthesia. Special note to the ladies: when preparing for surgery, remove all make-up and jewelry. Although this may make you uncomfortable, it is key for your safety.
How can you speed up the recovery process? Get mobile! Walking reduces inflammation, fights respiratory problems and reduces your risk of forming blood clots. Walking soon after surgery will also improve your immune system.
Bottom line, Dr. Roizen says, "If you’ve picked the right surgeon, the right hospital, and you've done the right thing in getting prepared yourself, you should do very well.”