Have you received an injury that requires surgery? Are you excited about your injury being repaired, but you're still not sure what to expect? Although you may have been recommended surgery by your regular doctor, you may not yet have met the doctor who is going to perform the surgery itself. Before the surgery, you'll be expected to meet with your orthopaedic surgeon to discuss what will be happening during and after the surgery. At this meeting, there are some questions that you should definitely ask your surgeon. A few of these questions include:
How many similar surgeries have you performed before? For a common injury, it's likely that your orthopaedic surgeon will have performed hundreds or perhaps even thousands of similar surgeries in the past. For an uncommon injury, the number of nearly identical surgeries may only number in the dozens, but your surgeon should still be able to tell you about his or her total number of surgeries. For instance, you may have an uncommon type of ligament tear in your knee, but your surgeon may have repaired hundreds of other ligament tears in other patients' knees during his or her career, making him or her more than qualified for the work that needs to be done on your knee.
How long does recovery take? The amount of recovery time following any surgery is going to depend both upon the patient and the type of surgery. It also depends on how much improvement is expected. Your orthopaedic surgeon should go over these expectations with you, including what sort of physical therapy or exercises may be required in order for you to regain the maximum amount of mobility possible. You may be mostly recovered from the surgery itself in a matter of days or weeks but could still require several months of physical therapy or rehabilitation in order to make the most of the surgery.
How long until it's possible to return to work/drive/go shopping again? There is often a difference between how long it takes to fully recover from a surgery and how long until you can start to resume your life. You may be able to return to light work as soon as a few days after the surgery while still recovering from the surgery itself. Even if you can return to work, your orthopaedic surgeon may caution you against driving there yourself and will instead suggest that you find someone else to carpool with or to drive you to your workplace.