Tuesday, July 9, 2013

When Should I Have My Surgery?

Dear Madame L,

I'm supposed to have an elective operation later this summer, but I heard that summer is the worst time to get this operation. Should I go ahead anyway?


Afraid of the Knife

Dear Afraid,

Madame L must emphasize here that she is NOT a doctor. She thinks you should trust your doctors and surgeons, and if you don't trust them, find other ones you can trust. Get a second and third opinion. 

Also, find out everything you can about your doctors and surgeons: how much experience they've had with your condition and this particular surgery, their safety and survival rates, and so on. Madame L knows this is sometimes difficult to find out, and the types and quantity of information available to patients varies from state to state and hospital to hospital. Can you build up your courage to ask your doctor and surgeon in person about their experience and successes with your condition and surgery?

But, back to your original question: Madame L has not heard that summertime specifically is a bad time to have surgery. 

However, she has heard of a study, mentioned in "The Worst Time to Have Surgery," finding that July 1 is not a great day for surgery because it's the day every hospital's newest doctors begin their work. 

In the same article, though,  Madame L finds that another study showed no difference between the start days of new residents and patient outcomes. 

There are other factors you might consider for elective surgery, and they are listed in the article, which  even provides a complete list of citations, with links to all the studies.

Wishing you the best of luck with your surgery,

Madame L

1 comment:

AskTheGeologist said...

I've always disliked knives, especially the little sharp ones. My ONE elective surgery (to remove a synovial cyst from a finger), ended up with the cyst returning, and a patch of the finger is now permanently numb.

Weigh ALL POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES of elective surgery before you have it. Then weigh your reasons for it. If one is to look younger, then you just haven't figured much of anything out, have you?

Case closed.