Here are some of the questions I asked and some I DIDN’T and wish I had.
I am trying not to duplicate Lyse’s questions.
Should I get a 2nd opinion before surgery? (if he says no, ask your questions and then run to another surgeon -they should be comfortable with a 2nd opinion)
How many operations have you performed on the thyroid in the last month? In the last year? How long have you been performing thyroidechtomy’s? (Vascular surgeons should have more experience.)
How many of the patients have had complications from surgery?
i.e. Out of all your surgeries how many problems have you encountered with loss of voice etc.?
Have you had any problems with short-term calcium issues? Would I need to stay in the hospital longer if I have a calcium issue?
How much calcium should I take before surgery? What kind? (mine had me on 1800mg a day – NOT all at one time – your intestines only processes about 600mg well at a time) I found calcium info on Washington.edu website under courses. I did a search for calcium. EVERYBODY is selling it and their calcium is always better than anyone else’s.)
What kind (carbonate (take with food) or citrate(costs more-no food required) –but it is really a matter of preference) and how much calcium will you have me on after surgery? You want to have it on hand. Trips to the store and pharmacy are the last thing you want to do on the way home.
How long will I have to stay in the hospital if Calcium, temperature and everything else is ok?
Have you had any problems with long-term calcium issues or Congestive Heart Failure(VERY rare)?
What do you use to close (other people have mentioned all of these)?
dissolving stitches with an outside glue/steri strips
internal stitches so they can just dissolve as the incision heals
Mine were like Lyse’s - Doc assistant took them out when he took the drain out the next day. He was VERY gentle. Didn’t hurt at all. TELL them if they are hurting you – make them go slow and careful. Some docs just don’t care.
Will I have a catheter? (they told me yes and then they didn’t use one)
Do you use the same surgical nurse(s) all the time? Some doctors do. Just nice to know.
WHO will assist you? When will I meet them?
Who will see me in the hospital? When? How often? (Never saw my surgeon except after surgery. I was at a learning hospital and all kinds of docs wanted to listen to my heart (two at 3 a.m.). Surgeons student ( a doctor) that saw me in the office and took my history was the one in charge after surgery. He was GREAT! Even listened to my classical music and didn’t complain!
Can I get the prescriptions before surgery so I don’t have to stop on the way home to get them? Or at least the day of so my support person can take them to the pharmacy that day. (The hospital probably wants you to get them there – ok if your insurance has copays but the calcium will be over the counter and may be higher than you can get it for at your local discount drug store.)
When can I expect to return to work after surgery?
What restrictions will I be on? (i.e. don’t lift over 5lbs (gallon of milk) – I won’t lift, push or pull over 5 lbs – from previous experiences – showers – driving (for me it is until I see surgeon Wednesday (TT was last Thursday))
For the people with you: About how long will the surgery last? About how long will I be in recovery?
I have fibromyalgia (or whatever else you may be dealing with). Will this complicate my condition?
My blood pressure is normally a little low/high. How will this affect the surgery/anesthesia?
When will I meet with Hospital – anesthesiologist? (I never saw my anesthesiologist - just the Internist Doctor assisting him/her.
I would WANT a drain after my surgeon explained to me what could happen without one!
Make your lists in a word doc and make two copies. Hand one to the surgeon. Take a pen and write down answers. Take someone with you. Four ears are better than two and they may have questions you haven’t thought of.
I wanted to know everything but wasn’t aware of what questions to ask. Sorry i got so long winded!
Hope I didn't repeat anything.
Keep us posted on what happens with your interview of the surgeon.