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Planning Elective Surgery? 7 Things to Consider

Planning Elective Surgery? 7 Things to Consider

Under emergency conditions you don’t have much say as to where or when you have surgery. When planning an elective surgery, one that is not urgent, there are several items to consider which can contribute to a safer outcome.

Here are 7 practical tips that will help you with planning a surgery. Also see the links below for a surgery preparation checklist and more advice.

Elective surgery (from the Latin eligere, meaning to choose) is surgery that is scheduled in advance because it does not involve a medical emergency. -Wikipedia


patient registration at a hospital
patient registration desk at a hospital

1. Surgical Risk. Many procedures can be done in a “day-surgery” facility as an outpatient when there is no expectation of staying overnight.

If serious complications arise they can transfer you to a nearby hospital.

If you have other medical conditions that increase your surgical risk it is better to have your procedure done at an acute care hospital that has the means to treat serious complications.


2. Health Insurance Rules. Every health insurance carrier has slightly different rules dictating where certain procedures can be done.

An outpatient surgical center may not be an option if your insurance carrier is not contracted with one in your area. The best answer will come from your insurance carrier as to where they cover which procedures.


3. Timing of Surgery. It can be advantageous to schedule surgery during a time that you can easily take time off work or a caregiver can be available.

Teachers often schedule surgeries during spring and summer break. If your procedure will be done at a teaching hospital and you don’t want students involved in your procedure, it is best to avoid July as that is when the new rotation of medical students begins.

Scheduling a procedure right before a holiday can backfire as your surgeon may not be available during your recovery. Recovery time should be considered as well.


4. Status of Employment. If you know you will be retiring or leaving your job in the not too distant future it is a good idea to take care of any elective procedures while you have the coverage.


5. Getting a Second Opinion. A second opinion will either confirm your decision or present issues that were not considered by the first surgeon. There are multiple procedures available for most given problems and you want to choose the one that is best for you.


6. Alternative therapies. Consider other treatments that may be available for your condition. Nonoperative treatments should be tried first to avoid the risks associated with surgery.


7. Benefit Gained. Talk with your surgeon about what the procedure will accomplish. If the benefit of the procedure will be short-lived or only slightly better than your current condition it may not warrant accepting the risks of a surgical procedure.


By Anna K. Coss, RN, BSN, MSN


More surgery preparation tips:

The Ultimate Hospital Packing List

16 Tips On How To Optimally Prepare For Surgery

6 Practical Tips on How to Prepare Your Family for Your Surgery

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