Are you planning to travel out of the country for surgery? Have you done your research about the type of clinic where you will have the surgery? How about the Doctor? Have you asked the Doctor a couple of questions to see if you have chosen the right one or not?
Ooh, you don’t know what to ask!
Well, you are not alone; many people do not know what kind of questions they should ask their doctors before the surgery. Some even think that the questions they have in mind are dumb. But, in all honesty, no question you ask a doctor is dumb. You are probably not the only one who has asked the same kind of question.
When you are thinking of traveling out of the country for surgery, every question you have should be answered in a way that satisfies you as a patient. The questions you ask should not only be limited to the surgery or facility only, but you should also ask about the person behind the mask.
Today we will discuss 5 questions you should consider or research before agreeing to travel out of the country for your surgery.
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Question 1: Ask about your Doctor’s credentials
It’s essential to check that the Doctor you are considering is board certified in the specialty or subspecialty area you need – e.g., gerontology, gynecology, hair transplantation, or internal medicine. Board certification is awarded to doctors who have completed a rigorous training and evaluation process.
It’s important to note that board certification is not mandatory as having a medical license. This means that some legit doctors are not board-certified; you can ask to see the medical license in such cases. No matter where you go, all doctors must have a medical license that allows them to practice.
Legit doctors who are either board certified or licensed don’t have a problem showing their credentials to patients who ask to see them. If you see your Doctor hesitating to reveal his credentials, avoid them.
Question 2: Ask for the previous patients’ before and after pictures
It’s no secret that the more often a surgeon performs a procedure, the better the outcomes. You have to ask your Doctor how long has he/she been performing that specific procedure or how many times does he/she perform the operation each year.
This question has to be followed up by a before and after pictures of previous patients. You’ll be hard-pressed to find an experienced doctor who doesn’t readily offer a look at their last work in the form of before-and-after photos.
Seeing how the results turned out for different types of patients, you’ll also get a better sense of the Doctor’s aesthetic. Suppose you are still not satisfied with the before and after pictures, you can ask the Doctor to put you in touch with the previous patients.
Question 3: Ask about the Doctor’s success rate
If you want to know a good indicator of the success you may experience, ask your Doctor about their success rate for outcomes. It is a fundamental question to ask, especially when the surgery (such as bypass or gastric) might have complications that may result in death.
Knowing these details and understanding it upfront will help you set accurate expectations and give you more validation on whether you want to put yourself through the surgery.
Question 4: What is the protocol if there are severe complications during the procedure?
The fact that there’s no surgical procedure with a 100% success rate reflects a chance that something might go wrong. Even the most experienced doctors performing the most routine operations can run into complications. Asking about the protocols in place to deal with unexpected events or outcomes in the surgery room can provide peace of mind.
Question 5: How many follow-up appointments will be necessary?
Although the exact number of post-op appointments varies from one procedure to the other, at least one follow-up is usually done within the first week. That may be the only check-up needed for, say, hair transplant or dental treatments, but in complicated procedures such as gastric sleeve, patients should expect to meet with their doctors several times after the procedure.
Asking this question will help you have a sense of the timeline before booking.
Over to you...
Don't ever assume, ask. Make sure that you understand what the doctor is telling you so that you don't get any surprises or misunderstandings. Go to your appointment prepared with a list of questions and make sure that all of them are answered to your satisfaction.
This content is edited by Flymedi Medical Editors in August 2020.