What to Ask Your Physician

If you or a friend are considering an orthopaedic surgical procedure you most likely have a broad array of questions from how to prepare for the surgery, getting a second opinion, pain management and follow up care.

Each surgery our doctors perform have unique characteristics and we want to make sure you and your family are informed and remain involved in the process for maximum heath and healing results.

  • Surgical alternatives/ Getting a second opinion
  • Expected results
  • Healing time
  • Pain management
  • Follow up care
  • Who to call in case of emergency
  • Who to call for non-emergency questions

Surgical alternatives: There are often many alternatives to surgery. These may include physical therapy techniques, rest or external manipulation. However, when it is clear that all other avenues have been investigated, surgery may be your best option. To be sure you have selected the right action, ask your surgeon about alternatives, and what is best recommended for your situation. Once you have your information, it’s wise to seek a second opinion. Often the decision for the procedure will be reinforced, while sometimes alternative options are made available. Most important is to seek the best solution for you and to make sure your expectations are in line with the procedure.

Expected results: While the surgery itself may take only a few hours, it may take several days, even weeks to see the results. It’s important to give yourself time and follow the doctor recommended care for best results. Follow up care may include applying hot and cold packs to the area, special physical exercises to build strength, and bandage care to keep the wound clean and help rejuvenate skin and tissue. Ask your surgeon how long recuperation will take and what you can do to enhance the healing process. Additionally, ask what benefits you can expect from the procedure, and most important, how long it may take for those benefits to be revealed. Staying informed with realistic expectations will reduce stress and keep your healthcare on track.

Healing time: Your surgeon will have a good idea as to the length of your recuperation time. Still, each person is unique and it’s important to understand what procedures will need follow up care and how long the healing process will take. Ask your surgeon what you can expect given your situation.

Pain management: At Emory Healthcare we understand the need for pain medicine and general care to keep you most comfortable. Ask your surgeon about the medications that will be best for your situation and find out how long you may need pain medication or management. Follow your surgeon’s recommendations, and if you find you are relying too heavily on your pain medicine or you are in pain and not getting relief, talk to your surgeon. We have an entire area dedicated to pain management and we are here to help you heal.

Follow up care: Whether it’s a trip to the physical therapist after surgery or changing dressings once you get home. You can expect follow up care procedures after your surgery. Even before your operation, find out what type of follow up care is expected so you can prepare and do what’s needed for the fastest healing time.

In case of emergency please call 911

For non-emergency questions that may include things like how to change a bandage and other important, but non-emergency issues, know there is always someone here at Emory to help you. The best number to call is 404-778-7777 between the hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday.