If you need to have surgery, then your doctor will likely refer you to a general surgeon for a consultation. This first appointment with your prospective surgeon is more important than many patients realize. It's not only a chance to learn more about the procedure you may need, but also a chance to ask questions, get to know the surgeon themselves, and gain clarity on what the next few months of your life will look like. As such, it is a good idea to follow these tips during your initial consultation with a general surgeon.
Bring a friend or family member along.
A lot happens at this first appointment. The surgeon may talk a lot about your condition, and they may outline several different approaches they can take. This can be a lot of information to absorb all at once, especially if you are feeling nervous or anxious. Bring a friend or family member along with you so that they can listen and help remember more of the details. They can even take notes, or with the surgeon's permission, record parts of the conversation.
Gather your medical history.
Your doctor recommended you for surgery, but the surgeon may have a different opinion as to whether or not surgery is actually necessary. The more they know about your medical history, the better able they will be to make this determination. So, bring as much documentation with you as you can. It's better to bring too much than not enough; your surgeon can determine what's important.
Share your goals.
Make sure the surgeon knows what your goals are with this prospective surgery. For example, do you just want to be able to walk again, or are you hoping to return to a sport you used to play? Knowing your goals may affect which procedure or approach your surgeon recommends. For now, don't worry whether your goals are realistic or not. Your surgeon can advise you on that once they know what you are aiming for.
Ask the surgeon about their experience with your condition.
General surgeons typically have experience performing a wide array of procedures. It's a good idea to ask how much experience they have with the procedure you're considering. If this particular surgeon has performed your procedure hundreds or thousands of times, that's a good indication you can be confident in your approach.
Your consultation with the general surgeon can give you a lot of insight. Follow the tips above for best results.