Any type of surgery can make you feel nervous. When you’re discussing foot surgery with your surgeon, it gives you the chance to ask questions and relieve any concerns or fears that you might have. Your foot surgeon will be happy to answer your questions and ensure you understand everything that they tell you. There are some common questions that patients can have, and things that you might want to ask your foot surgeon before you have surgery.
Here are some of the top questions that you might want to ask your foot surgeon when you are discussing your surgery with them.
Do you need to stay in the hospital?
Surgical procedures can be either in-patient or outpatient procedures. After an outpatient procedure, you will be able to go home on the same day. If you require an in-patient procedure, you might need to stay overnight, for a few days or perhaps even longer. Staying in the hospital allows your surgeon and medical team to monitor you and ensure you are recovering. Many minor procedures can be done quickly so you can go home sooner.
Will you be awake or asleep during surgery?
When people think of surgery, they often picture being put to sleep. However, not all surgeries are performed under general anesthesia. Using local anesthesia, you can stay awake while the area that requires surgery is numbed. Even if you have an operation with local anesthesia, you may need someone to drive you home after.
How will you prepare for surgery?
Ask your surgeon what you need to do to get ready for your surgery. You might need to have some tests carried out or, if having surgery under general anesthesia, you might not be allowed to eat beforehand. If you have any other health conditions, your foot surgeon might want to consult with your other doctors before carrying out your surgery.
What will recovery be like?
One of the biggest questions many people will have before foot surgery is what their recovery will look like. The idea of being limited in your movement is probably not a pleasant one. Ask your surgeon how long recovery will take so that you can allow yourself enough time to recover. You don’t want to be back at work sooner than you should be. You can also ask about whether you will require any assistive equipment, such as crutches, a scooter or a wheelchair. Another thing to consider is how you will care for the surgery site at home.
How can you manage pain after surgery?
Most surgical procedures will result in at least a little pain once the anesthetic wears off. Everyone’s experience of pain is different, but you can ask your surgeon how much pain you can expect to experience. Your foot surgeon can also tell you about what methods are available for dealing with any pain that you feel.
What follow-up treatment will be needed?
Do you need to have any follow-up treatment after having surgery? You might need to come back to have the site of your surgery checked to ensure it’s healing correctly. You could also require other related treatments, such as physical therapy. This is part of the recovery process, so be sure to speak to your foot surgeon about any further treatment.
What results will you get from the surgery?
It’s important to understand just what your surgery is going to do for you. Discuss with your foot surgeon how it will improve your health and your lifestyle. They can ensure you have a realistic idea of what to expect once you have healed from your surgery.
Will you be limited from any everyday activities?
Surgery on your toe, foot or ankle can mean that you’re unable to put weight on your foot. This often makes it difficult to do things like climb stairs, drive or even lie down on the side where you have had surgery. This can mean that you have to rearrange your home or have someone to help look after you. It’s a good idea to find out how your life might be affected before you have surgery.
When can you get back to normal life?
This is the big question for a lot of people: when can I get back to “normal”?
Your foot surgeon will discuss when you can expect to return to your usual activities.
Don’t be shy about talking to your foot surgeon before you have surgery. It will reassure you before you have the procedure.
Dr. Engel has been providing outstanding care to his patients in the Southeastern Wisconsin Community for the past decade and a half specializing in foot and ankle lower extremity disorders.