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Whether or not to undergo surgery is an important question for a patient. Doctors may give their advice, but to decide whether or not to undergo a surgery is up to the patient.


In order to make the right decision, the patient can ask several questions from their doctor. Hereby we list some topics which might be important to discuss with your doctor while preparing for your surgery.


Is the surgery indeed necessary?

It is important to be familiar why the surgery is indeed necessary. It is also important to know what the outcome of the surgery might be regarding the health condition. For example, before a leg surgery “Will my limping stop?” and “Will my leg pain go away?” are legitimate questions.


The medical indication (doctors’ recommendation) stands when the surgical risk is significantly lower than the presumably occurring health damage without surgery. 


Before the surgery, ask your doctor how many patients out of 100 heal and how many of them experience improvement in their condition.


What are the possible risks of the operation?

Every surgical procedure carries a certain risk which can be related to both the surgical procedure itself and the anesthesia. The surgeries are performed when the benefit the patient gains from the operation is greater than the inherent complications.


Before the surgery, ask your doctor the followings:


  • What are the possible complications of the procedure?
  • From 100 surgeries how many results in a complication?
  • What are the consequences of the complications for the patient?
  • How can the complications be managed?


What happens if I don’t want to undergo the surgery?

Whether or not to undergo a surgical procedure is always the patient’s decision, but it should always be discussed with a doctor what possible outcomes might occur upon the decision not to undergo the surgery.


Alternative therapeutic options are available in case of some types of surgeries that may improve the patient’s state. These alternatives might be the followings:


  • physiotherapy,
  • diet,
  • lifestyle changing,
  • exercises, physical activity,
  • medications.


 Always ask your doctor about alternative therapeutical options.


What is going to be the “cost” of the surgery?

The surgery costs the patients energy, time and money.


Before the surgery, ask your doctor about the followings:


  • Is the procedure covered by your insurance?
  • How long is the procedure and how long will it take to recover after the surgery?
  • After the surgery, when can you go back to your normal activity and daily life?
  • How much stress does this procedure cause to your body?


If the patient has a private insurance, they can get information on the coverage and the potential expenses of the procedure from their insurance company.


How long is the recovery?

After every operation you need a certain amount of time to recover. The re-convalescence period might take from several days up to months.


Recovery depends on:


  • age,
  • physical status,
  • type of surgery.


Before the surgery, always ask your doctor about the length of the re-convalescence period.


Is rehabilitation necessary after the surgery?

After certain types of surgeries, rehabilitation helps patients to return to their everyday routine. Ask your surgeon, whether rehabilitation is recommended after your operation, and if so, what kind of rehabilitation is the most suitable for you.


Informed consent forms for surgeries

In Hungary, patients have the right to receive from their physician information necessary to give informed consent prior to the start of any surgical procedure. They have the right to refuse treatment and to be informed of the medical consequences of their actions. They can declare their perspective after getting familiar with the type and the possible consequences of the surgery, the procedure itself and the length of recovery.


It is notable that as a patient, you always have the right to receive clear, personalized and thorough information and all the possible details from your doctor that required for giving an informed consent. 


For further information on patients’ rights:

Right to make decisions about your care

Right to give informed consent

Right to refuse treatment

Right for medical treatment in emergency

Right to choose your doctor

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