Before going ahead with colorectal surgery, there are certain questions you need to ask. If in doubt, consider getting a second opinion.
Make sure you fully understand the procedure and don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s imperative your surgeon explains the common risks and benefits, as well as those particular to your circumstances. Knowing all the relevant information is part of informed clinical consent.
Questions for your surgeon
- Are there alternatives to this procedure in my case?
- Do I need this procedure now or can it wait?
- What are the likely consequences if I delay it?
- What are your likely out-of-pocket medical expenses? (Your surgeon should be able to give you a breakdown of any costs you’ll incur – this is known as ‘Informed Financial Consent’)
- Will there be additional fees for an assistant surgeon, physiotherapist, stoma nurse, radiologist, pathologist and dietitian? If so, what will they be?
- Will I have a choice of anaesthetist?
- Will I be able to meet my anaesthetist before my surgery?
- Will there be an additional fee for the anaesthetist? If so, what will it be?
- How should I prepare for my procedure?
- Can I donate my own blood several weeks pre-operatively to be re-transfused post-surgery? (Using your own blood has been shown to reduce the risk of infection.)
- Am I likely to have a temporary or permanent stoma after my surgery?
- If a stoma is likely, how do I prepare for this?
- Will I need to cleanse my bowel before surgery?
- What happens during and after the procedure?
- Is there anything I can do to improve the outcome?
- How many colorectal surgeries do you perform each year?
- What percentage of patients are satisfied with the results of the colorectal surgeries you perform?
- What’s your complication rate for this procedure?
- How long will I be in hospital?
- How soon can I go back to work or travel?
- Follow-up appointments (write down any questions or concerns you want to discuss with your surgeon).
- Will I need to change my diet?
Tell your surgeon if you have any skin lesions, sores, cuts, or a raised temperature, as they’ll need to be treated before your procedure.
You can take most medication as usual, but some may interfere with your procedure. Your surgeon will let you know which medication (if any) you should stop, and when to stop taking it. Blood thinning medications such as aspirin, warfarin, Plavix® and Xaralto® can increase the risk of bleeding.
Don’t forget to mention any complementary or herbal remedies you’re taking, as these can have interactions and side effects too. Fish oil, krill oil and glucosamine may also increase the risk of bleeding.
Print out this page to take to your appointment with your surgeon.