Preparing for and getting surgery can be scary and stressful, especially when you’re not sure of what to expect. It’s far too easy to fall into a hole of what-ifs and find horror stories about surgeries online—something you need to do your best to avoid if you want to be as relaxed as possible pre-surgery. Surgeons are aware of these fears and uncertainties and want to do what they can to alleviate them. Before your operation, here’s what you should know about surgery.

What Patients Should Know Before Surgery

Ask questions

Your surgeon is the expert on what to expect before, during, and after your operation. Most likely, you’ll receive an overwhelming amount of information when meeting with your surgeon, whether it be because of a scheduled appointment or in an emergency room, so know that’s it’s okay—encouraged, even—to ask questions. While it might take a bit to process the information on the spot, consider bringing a notebook if possible to jot down questions as you think of them. Then, when a surgeon comes to speak with you again, you’ll have your questions ready and can receive answers.

Don’t rely on Google

Google is a fantastic tool that provides us with an abundance of information at our fingertips, but when it comes to information on your upcoming or recent surgery, Google isn’t always your friend. Information may be at your fingertips, but whether or not the information you find is accurate is another matter entirely. If you want a second opinion, you should make an appointment and talk to another board-certified surgeon rather than rely on WebMD. 

You need to take care of yourself before surgery

Surgery doesn’t start once you’re on the operating table. To make sure your surgery goes well, you need to take care of yourself before your operation even starts: stop smoking if you smoke, eat healthy, exercise, take your vitamins, etc. How healthy you are will directly impact the outcome and success of your surgery. 

Complications do happen

Complications can and will happen, and it won’t always be the fault of your surgeon. Even when an operation is done right, you can still catch pneumonia, get a UTI, have unexpected bleeding, or any number of other complications. If you have concerns, be proactive and ask what complications you should expect to possibly happen. Knowing the risks can help alleviate your fears, and it’s more than likely that your surgeon has a plan in place in case a complication does arise.