Top Questions to Ask Your Urologist Before Undergoing Surgery

No one should go into surgery uninformed, including urologic surgeries. Here are the top ten questions to ask your urologist before undergoing surgery. These questions can help reduce your anxiety and help you build trust with your urologist.

Can You Describe the Surgery and What It Will Do for Me?

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You want to establish good communication with your urologist. If the urologist cannot explain treatment options in easy-to-understand language, you might want to consider seeing someone else.

Should I Have Surgery Right Away or Can We Wait?

In some cases, you can go through a period that is known as watchful waiting, where you see if your condition progresses, stays the same or resolves. If your doctor thinks that you don't have much risk to waiting, consider it. Be sure that your doctor tells you how serious your symptoms are, which is important in undergoing surgery as soon as possible.

Do I Have Anything to Lose If We Watch the Condition and Delay Surgery?

This is phrased slightly differently, but in urology, there is increasing acceptance of considering watchful waiting, when appropriate. You should know where your doctor stands on that issue, which might make a difference in who you are comfortable working with.

Is There Anything Else That I Can Do to Improve My Condition?

For some urologic conditions, changing your diet, losing weight, getting exercise, or gaining control of your bladder muscles, might make a big difference in how you feel.

Can You Tell Me How Quickly My Problem Might Progress?

This is a harder question to answer. Doctors can speak in terms of patients that they have seen with similar conditions but they probably cannot forecast the progression of your disease.

What Kind of Outcomes Can I Expect If I Undergo This Surgery?

Patients are so overwhelmed when they consider surgery that sometimes they only think of the goal of surgery. You will want to know whether you will be cured, or if a disease will not progress, but be sure to ask about side effects. For example, many men complain after treatment for prostate cancer that they have erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence.

How Fast Can I Expect My Recovery to Be?

Your doctor should give you a sense of this as you explore surgical options. It might make a big difference in the type of surgery that you choose. With some procedures, you will recover very quickly. With others, you may be laid up for a few weeks.

How Many of These Procedures Have You Performed?

This could be the single most important question that you ask your urologist before surgery. For complex surgeries, you will want to know that your urologist performed an adequate volume of procedures.

How Do You Feel About Me Getting a Second Opinion?

If your urologist feels threatened by you getting a second opinion, this could be a red flag that you should see someone else. There are many points of views on how to treat something and you can gain a lot of insight from another urologist's perspective.

Are There Any Other Treatments Available for People with My Condition?

There may be many treatment options. Watchful waiting for a certain period of time might be worthwhile. Behavioral therapies, for example, or learning Kegel exercises, might give you sufficient control over bothersome urinary incontinence.

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