Questions You Must Ask Your Doctor
Especially for gynecological surgeries
Know the TWO most important questions
Besides talking to the doctor about your medical needs and history, ask the doctor about their experience. Consider asking the following:
1. Am I a candidate for an alternative treatment?
2. Am I a candidate for minimally invasive surgery?
If you have decided that surgery is a viable option for you, a second opinion can give you new information, a new perspective and peace of mind. These eight questions can help you get the information you need from your current doctor or a second doctor.
It may sound odd, but doctors with a high level of experience will expect you to ask about their experience. Doctors who specialize in GYN oncology and GYN surgery will have statistics to share their levels of experience with you. Consider the experience of a surgeon who performs 20 surgeries per month over the one who performs three per month.
If your condition is benign, ask the doctor about alternative treatment options. Your previous doctor may specialize in one treatment that was not helpful to you. Another doctor may have other non-surgical options to consider.
After you have explored your medical history and your current medical diagnosis, if surgery is required, be prepared to ask questions to determine the experience level of your surgeon.
Questions to ask:
1. How many surgeries like this for my diagnosis do you perform each year?
2. What percent are abdominal surgeries?
3. What percent are minimally invasive surgeries? (vaginal, laparoscopic)
If your doctor only performs a few laparoscopic surgeries per year, you should consider a more experienced and qualified surgeon.
4. Would you recommend a laparoscopic surgery for me?
Note: If the answer is "no," ask why not?
5. What is your conversion rate from laparoscopy to abdominal incision?
A conversion is where the doctor begins a laparoscopic surgery but decides to change to a more invasive abdominal surgery. The number should be less than 5 percent.
6. What is your complication rate?
Major complications should be under 5 percent.
If you are discussing a hysterectomy, ask these additional questions:
7. How often do you remove the cervix?
Be aware of a Laparoscopic Supracervical Hysterectomy option.
8. How often do you remove the ovaries?
If ovaries are normal, the current recommendation is for the ovaries to not be removed at the time of hysterectomy unless 65 and older.
If you do not feel comfortable with any answer, go for another opinion with yet another surgeon.
Getting a second opinion and talking to other medical professionals about your course of action is helpful in many ways.
Be good to yourself. Get a second opinion.
This list was used by permission from the website of Dr. Lori Warren.