Questions for the Hemorrhoid Surgeon

By: Donald Urquhart

When you find that you must have surgery for hemorrhoids, the questions can come on so quick that it may as well be an incoherent storm in your mind. So many crash in that it can often be difficult to figure out the ones you really need to ask first. In addition, it helps to discuss all questions you may have well before the surgery so you can go in with full confidence rather than worrying that you forgot to ask something that will prove to be of vital importance.

The first and most important question to ask is for the surgeon's credentials.

While any practicing surgeon will have degrees and certifications on hand, it is also important to inquire how many times they have performed the particular procedure they intend to do on you. Frequently they cannot give you references to past patients due to medical privacy regulations, but they should have professional statistics available for your perusal that have had identifying information removed. Each procedure is different, and occasionally the tools are quite different as well. For example, you can have a hemorrhoidectomy done either with scalpels or with lasers. Each tool carries its own risks and must be specifically trained with. You do not want to be the first laser surgery your surgeon has ever done, even if he or she has completed hundreds of successful hemorrhoidectomies performed with a scalpel.

Once trust has been established, at that point it is important to ask your surgeon to explain the procedure to you in detail.

It may take a bit of time to explain in plain language instead of medical jargon, so be patient and schedule yourself a bit extra time. The purpose of medical jargon is to convey a huge amount of information in very few words, so to unfold it all takes a bit of work, but any surgeon should be willing to take all the time you need in order to fully understand. Also ask about potential risks from the surgery, and keep asking as long as anything is not perfectly clear. You have the right to know all of the potential consequences of any surgical procedure ever done on you.

After you fully understand the procedure, you will probably want to ask about pre- and post-surgical practices.

Most surgeons will tell you about pre-surgical procedures on their own, as you need to do those in order to be fully ready for the surgery, but listen carefully and ask about anything that is not perfectly clear or that you don't understand the reason for. Also, keep in mind that your surgeon does not necessarily know everything about your particular medical history. For instance, many surgeons ask you to take ibuprofen for a couple of days prior to the procedure to reduce swelling and inflammation. If you know that your family doctor has told you to never take ibuprofen, you'll want to inform your surgeon of that so that you can find a suitable substitute together. In a similar fashion, only you know the circumstances you will have to live in after your surgery, so there are several questions you will want to ask about post-surgical treatments and restrictions. How long before you can go back to work? Is there a limit on how much you can lift, and for how long? What effects will post-surgical medications have on you? Will you need someone to stay with you around the clock, or will you be fine by yourself or with daytime visitors? If you have special conditions, again, you need to mention those. Most post-surgical procedures are designed for normal, healthy adults. If that designation does not apply to you, you and your surgeon will need to adjust accordingly.

Concluding comments

Surgeons will be patient with all of these questions because they want you to have the best outcome possible. Statistically, people who fully understand their treatment are willing participants in their own care, and have much higher success rates than those who do not. Therefore, because your surgeon cares primarily about you, and also about his or her professional reputation, he or she will be happy that you are taking so much time to be a partner in your own health care.

Bowel Problems
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