Choosing a surgeon is an important and personal issue. Most important, is the skill and experience that a particular surgeon has with the operation that you need. You should feel comfortable with and have a trust of the surgeon whom your surgical treatment is entrusted. It is important to take your time deciding on the type of treatment and who will provide that treatment. Do not be pressured into hasty decisions, rather, give careful consideration before making treatment decisions. Do not allow your insurance company to limit the choices of surgeons that you consider, as many of the best surgeons are unwilling to subject themselves to the hassles of insurance contracts. The following are some questions to ask of your surgeon:
How many of these operations have you performed in the past several years?
Can you provide outcome data reflecting the results of this operation in your hands?
What are the most common complications encountered? How are they treated?
How often are blood transfusions given?
What is the chance of long-term complications?
What are the most common short and long-term complications?
How long are the different surgical procedures?
What anesthetic options are available?
Are there other issues that I have not asked that I should consider?
How and where would you have your spouse or parent treated given my current condition?
If insurance company reimbursement issues and other third party interference were eliminated, what would be the treatment of choice for my condition?
Prostate cancer surgery: Incontinence, impotence, transfusions, rectal injury, positive (contaminated) margins, cancer recurrence?
Surgery for enlarged prostate: Incontinence due to sphincter weakness or injury, bladder instability (urgency incontinence), impotence, transfusion, repeat treatments, scar tissue (strictures)?
Female incontinence surgery: Recurrent or persistent stress incontinence, additional surgeries, unstable bladder (urge incontinence), obstruction of urethra, other vaginal prolapse problems, erosions (synthetic sling procedures)?
Vasectomy reversal: Is the operating microscope used to magnify the surgical field. What size sutures are used (10-O and 9-O preferred). What is the fertility rate, pregnancy rate, cost and complication rate?