Wednesday, 14 of November of 2018

Category » Preparing for Surgery

List-Making Can Improve Communication With Your Doctor

Patients today are much more educated about health care thanks to the Internet. But good communication between patients and doctors can still be a problem for many people. Sometimes, patients may feel uncomfortable asking too many questions or they may be intimidated or confused by medical terms.There may be a lot of information to absorb at one visit. Or patients may have more questions once they get home and have time to think about it.

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons suggests the best way to avoid any issues with communication is to be prepared by making a list in advance of your visit. You might want to keep your list on the refrigerator, at your desk, by the TV or even in your purse. That way when ideas come to mind, you can jot them down.

What should be included on your list? Here are some ideas:Make a list for your doctor

  • Jot down your symptoms with as much detail as possible; for example, when did they start, when does it hurt the most, is the discomfort constant or is it only at certain times of the day or during certain activities?
  • List all medications, starting with prescription meds, but also including any daily over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, herbal supplements, alternative medications or treatments and of course, any allergies to medications.
  • Summarize your medical history, which should include any surgery or major medical conditions you have had in the past or currently.
  • Write down questions you want to be sure to ask the doctor. Not sure what to ask? It is your right as a patient to ask about: 1) the benefits and risks of surgery, 2) possible complications, 3) treatment alternatives, 4) what you can expect after surgery in terms of recovery time, treatment outcome and level of discomfort after the procedure, and 5) what limitations you may have during recovery and long-term.

How else will help make your visit with the doctor more successful?

  • Bring recent X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs,with you. If you don’t have them, be sure to bring the name of the physician who ordered the tests and his or her contact information.
  • Be honest with the doctor. Don’t withhold information that might be important. Voice any concerns you may have and speak up when you don’t understand. Sometimes it’s a good idea to bring a family member or close friend to help you remember the information after you get home.

Do you have a visit scheduled with Dr. Kagan to discuss an orthopedic-related concern? The doctor offers easy-to-understand information about the latest treatments for orthopedic-related conditions at


Questions for your Orthopaedic Surgeon

The doctor/surgeon partnership is very important! Please don’t hesitate to ask questions, especially when surgery is suggested. Here is a list of questions endorsed by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons:

1. Why is this procedure being recommended? Are there alternatives?
2. What are the benefits of this procedure in terms of pain relief, functioning/mobility? How long will the benefit last?
3. What are the risks involved?
4. What is the success rate for this procedure?
5. What is the procedure called? How is it done?
6. Will this surgery solve the problem? Will any more surgery be required in the future?
7. How many of these procedures are annually performed at this hospital?
8. What can I expect in terms of improvement?
9. What will happen if I don’t have the surgery now?
10. If I want a second opinion, whom can I consult?
11. Will my doctor perform the operation or someone else? If someone else, when can I meet him or her? Is the doctor board-certified?
12. How many similar procedures have been done by my doctor (or whoever will perform the procedure?) What are the outcomes?
13. Will I need any tests or medical evaluations prior to the surgery?
14. What kind of anesthesia will be used? Are there possible after effects or risks? Will I meet with the anesthesiologist in advance? Will her or she know my needs/allergies?
15. What kind of implant or prosthesis will be used? What are the outcomes using this device? How long will it last?
16. Will I have pain following the procedure? What pain relief or pain control measures will I be given?
17. How long will the recovery take? What are my limitations during recovery? Will I need assistance at home afterwards? For how long? What will discharge instructions be?
18. Will I have any disability following surgery? Will I need physical therapy?
19. When can I return to work? When can I drive my car? When can I have sexual activity?
20. Are there any written materials or videotapes about this surgery that I can review?

To get answers to these and other questions, call my office for a consultation at 239-936-6778.

Preparing your mind for surgery

Last week I blogged about completing a “to do list” to get prepared for surgery. But just as important as getting pre-operative tests and paperwork complete, so is preparing yourself emotionally for surgery.

First, talk to your surgeon and understand your condition and treatment. If surgery is the next step, what does the procedure involve? How long will you be hospitalized and what can you expect the recovery to be like?  How will you manage pain? Understanding what to expect can help ease anxiety.

Next, identify a support system. Who will help care for you after surgery? How will you get home and to and from your follow up visits?  Establishing support from family and friends can also help you prepare emotionally for surgery. However, no matter how well your surgery goes, your emotional health matters too. Studies show that patients lacking support systems have less satisfactory results following joint replacement surgery, spine surgery and sports medicine surgery.

If you have concerns about how you are coping before or after surgery, talk to your doctor so we can provide the proper resources to help you manage anxiety, depression or other concerns you might have to best support your recovery.

If you have questions, please call 239-936-6778 or visit

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