Before going ahead with a skin graft and flap surgery, there are certain questions that are important to ask. If in doubt, consider getting a second opinion.
Make sure you fully understand the surgery; don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your doctor should explain the common risks and benefits of the surgery, as well as those particular to your circumstances. Knowing all the relevant information is part of informed clinical consent.
Questions for your doctor
- Are there alternatives to this surgery?
- Is this surgery really needed at this time or can it wait?
- What are the likely consequences if I delay surgery?
- What are the likely out-of-pocket medical expenses? (Your doctor should be able to give you a breakdown of any costs you’ll incur – this is known as ‘Informed Financial Consent’) Learn about the costs
- Will there be an additional fee for an assistant or for the anaesthetist?
- How should I prepare for the surgery?
- Will there be an additional fee for the anaesthetist? If so, what will it be?
- Can I meet with my anaesthetist before procedure?
- What sort of anaesthesia will I have?
- What happens during and after the surgery?
Your surgeon’s skills
- How many procedures of this type do you perform each year?
- What percentage of your patients are satisfied with the results of the graft and flap surgeries you perform?
- How many of your patients require a repeat procedure?
- What’s your complication rate for this procedure?
- How soon can go back to work or travel?
- Are there restrictions on what activities I can do, such as swimming, going to the gym, air travel, straining or heavy lifting?
- Follow-up appointments (write down any questions or concerns you want to discuss with your surgeon).
Tell your doctor if you have any skin lesions, sores, cuts, a raised temperature or signs of a urinary tract infection, as they’ll need to be treated before your procedure.
Most medication should be taken as usual, but some may interfere with the surgery. Your surgeon will let you know which medication (if any) you should stop, and when to stop taking it.
Don’t forget to mention any complementary or herbal remedies you’re taking, as these can have interactions and side effects too.
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