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Preparation before surgery (outpatient or inpatient) can feel scary, especially if it’s your first one. It can be difficult to know what to expect and what is normal procedure for your surgery. Sometimes, you don’t think of the questions to ask until you leave your appointment or after the fact. Surgery is not to be taken lightly, and we encourage all patients to do some research and learn about the operation you will undergo. The team at Surgery Center of Fort Collins is always willing to answer any questions about your upcoming outpatient procedure. In case you’re having trouble knowing where to start, we’ve created a short list of questions to ask your surgeon before surgery to help you feel prepared and more at ease.

What are risks of the operation?

Every surgery has its risks, and it’s important to be well-informed of them beforehand. Even very common, routine outpatient surgeries do have risks including infection and/or bleeding. There are also risks specific to each type of procedure. Ask your surgeon how common the risks of surgery are and what would happen if something unexpected occurred.

What are the benefits of the operation?

Surgeries done at the Surgery Center of Fort Collins are often elective surgeries. This means that it is not performed as the result of a medical emergency and so can be planned in advance. Ask your doctor how your surgery would improve your quality of life and long-term benefits of your surgery to help your decision on scheduling the surgery.

What happens before surgery?

Ask about what surgery preparation looks like. You should receive a phone call from the facility’s pre-operative screening nurse the week of your procedure to verify items including health history, current medications, and answer any questions that you have. There are important steps to take pre-surgery!  You can also ask about food and drink restrictions before surgery, types of clothing to wear, and how early to arrive at the Surgery Center of Fort Collins.

What type of anesthesia will be used?

There are four major types of anesthesia used in medical procedures including general anesthesia, local anesthesia, regional anesthesia, and monitored sedation. The type of anesthesia administered to you for your procedure at Surgery Center of Fort Collins will depend on the type of operation.  Speak with your surgeon and/or your anesthesiologist regarding what anesthesia they will use for your outpatient procedure and how long it will take to recover from it. If you have a history of feeling nauseous or a sore throat after anesthesia, let your doctor know beforehand because they may want to administer medications before the procedure to minimize any side effects.

What happens during surgery?

It’s okay to ask what the process looks like! Ask about the surgical technique: laparoscopic surgeries usually result in smaller wounds, and/or scars and a quicker recovery than an open surgery, for example. You can also ask who will be involved in the surgery and what each person will be doing.

What does recovery look like?

Recovery looks different for every surgery and for every patient. Ask about what you can expect post-op as far as pain levels, independence, and when to return to work and other everyday activities. It is also important to discuss with your surgeon ways to manage your pain and what medications you may need to take at home.

Should I ask for a second opinion?

It is okay to ask for a second opinion! Especially with elective surgeries, many insurances require a second opinion before undergoing an operation. We want you to feel completely comfortable and confident in your decision to have surgery. A well-informed patient prior to surgery is often much happier post-surgery.

How long will the surgery take?

Usually, surgeons can estimate how long a procedure will take. This may not be useful for you as a patient, but those in the waiting room might like to have an estimate. Patients under the age of 18 are required to have a legal parent or guardian at the facility during the entire operation. All patients are required to have a responsible adult available to drive them to and from home the day of the surgery and available to stay with them for the first 24 hours after the procedure.

Are there any common complications with this surgery?

Complications are always a possibility during surgical operations, and some are more common than others. It’s okay to ask what common complications are and what to look for post-operation, just in case. Complications can also vary from patient to patient depending on their medical history, health, and age.

What will happen if I don’t have this surgery?

Elective surgeries can be postponed – they are not performed as an emergency operation. Having surgery should never be taken lightly, and so it’s important to know your options and what could happen if you wait. Sometimes, surgeries can be postponed; other times, having them performed sooner rather than later is beneficial to the patient.

What is the cost of this operation?

It’s best to understand what an operation will cost, how much your insurance is covering, and what payment plans are available so that you aren’t hit with any unpleasant surprises while you’re recovering. Surgeries can be performed at ambulatory surgery centers like Surgery Center of Fort Collins and in a hospital, but these have two different costs. We encourage you to discuss costs and options with your doctor to help you decide where you would like to have the surgery performed.

Surgery Center of Fort Collins lists average costs for some of our common procedures here. These prices differ from patient to patient and the amount you pay out of pocket depends on your insurance coverage. While Surgery Center of Fort Collins does accept most major commercial health insurance providers, we encourage you to ask the facility questions on cost if you have them.