Reconstructive surgery – Questions you need to ask your surgeon

Reconstructive surgery is a medical procedure that aims to reconstruct body structures and organs that have been affected aesthetically or functionally by factors such as genetics, growth abnormalities, trauma, infection, injury, birth defects, tumour or disease. The main objective of reconstructive surgery is to improve the functionality of the structure, though in some cases, it also involves enhancing the appearance of the body structures after congenital acquired or traumatic problems.

Reconstructive surgery is best suited for people who have problems such as cleft lip, facial abnormities, hand deformities, etc. since birth or people who have been affected with disability or deformity due to accidents, trauma, disease, injury, increasing age, etc. Reconstructive surgery can be done on most structures of the body and hence, is one of the most sought after treatments.

Though extremely safe and secure, reconstructive surgery does involve a lot of consideration since it requires alteration of physical appearance and functionality. Hence, the decision of a reconstructive surgery should not be taken lightly, and all pros and cons must be deeply evaluated, as well as discussed with the doctor. More so, you need not be intimidated by the whole process and be prepared to discuss everything openly with the doctor before proceeding for the surgery. The types of questions that one must ask a surgeon depending on the type of reconstructive surgery and the structure concerned.

Some of the questions you need to ask your surgeon are:

  • Do I need reconstructive surgery or will some other treatment work best for me?
  • Am I a good candidate for reconstructive surgery?
  • What type of reconstructive surgery will work best for me?
  • How invasive the surgery will be?
  • How many reconstructive procedures have you done?
  • What is your specialization in reconstructive procedures?
  • Are you a certified reconstructive surgeon? What are your qualifications?
  • Do you believe I can get the results I am expecting out of the reconstructive surgery?
  • Do you think you would be able to give me the results I expect from the reconstructive surgery?
  • How safe is the procedure?
  • What are the risks of reconstructive surgery?
  • How many years of reconstructive surgery training have you had?
  • Will this enhance the functionality of the affected structure?
  • Will the surgery permanently change the appearance of the structure as desired?
  • How will the surgery be performed?
  • What surgical method is suited for my surgery?
  • What will be the total cost of my surgery including follow-ups and medications?
  • How long will be the recovery period?
  • What are the possible complications of the surgery?
  • What to do if I notice a complication or a symptom of infection, etc.?
  • How to handle complications?
  • What after-care does the hospital provide?
  • What makes me a more risk patient for the surgery?
  • What is the best time for reconstructive surgery?
  • How long will the procedure last?
  • Will I need follow-up surgeries or sittings?
  • Who will see me during these follow-ups?
  • How should I prepare for the surgery – diet, medicines, etc.?
  • What type of anaesthesia will be used?
  • What will the structure look like after reconstruction?
  • Have you performed the surgery on other patients, how many?
  • Do you have any records or photos of the similar surgery performed?
  • Can you give me some reference numbers of people I can ask about the same procedure?
  • How much pain and discomfort will the surgery cause?
  • What will be the post-operative life, precautions, diet, etc.?
  • What is the length of the hospital stay?
  • How long is the recovery period?
  • How long will the results of the surgery last?
  • What are the realistic expectations in my case?
  • What type of care will I need at home?
  • Are there any therapies or exercises needed after the surgery?
  • How will aging affect the reconstructed structure?
  • Will there be visible scars post the surgery?
  • Do I need to rearrange my living or home?
  • What kind of comfort and supplies will I need when I go home post-surgery?
  • What is expected out of me to get the best results from the surgery?
  • What are the options if I am dissatisfied with the results post the reconstructive surgery?

That said, one must carefully analyse all the pros and cons of reconstructive surgery and discuss it at length with the surgeon.