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7 questions you need to ask your doctor to avoid unnecessary surgery

It should be simple to take control over your health

A young doctor smiles at his patient
A young doctor smiles at his patient

It’s never a great feeling to be told by your doctor that you need surgery, or an invasive test or treatment. Like most of us, you’ll probably feel overwhelmed, nervous and not in control of the situation.

But, it doesn’t have to be that way. At nib, we believe it should be simple to take control over your health.

From biopsies to open surgery, here are seven questions you should ask your doctor or specialist before you agree to an invasive procedure.

1. Do I really need this procedure?

Most importantly, find out whether the procedure is medically necessary and if you’re not convinced by your health provider’s response, you can always consider getting a second opinion. Find out more with our article: Is surgery always necessary?

2. Is there another option?

Check with your doctor whether there is another option; sometimes a change of lifestyle, like eating healthier or exercising more might be the key to preventing an invasive procedure. At nib, we offer a number of Health Management Programs to help our members improve their overall health and wellbeing and stay out of hospital.

Is there another option? A change of lifestyle might be the key to preventing an invasive procedure

3. What are the risks?

Make sure you know the risks and side effects, as well as the success rate of the procedure before you commit.

4. What will happen if I don’t do it?

Will your condition worsen, or even potentially improve if you do nothing about it?

5. What’s the cost?

Check with your specialist for a quote, so you know how much the procedure will set you back.

6. How can I prepare for it?

Ask any sports star and they’ll tell you that the key to success is ‘preparation’ – it’s no different when it comes to your health. Check with your doctor what sort of physical and mental preparation may be required to undertake the procedure. It could be anything from setting yourself up with realistic expectations to cutting back on your alcohol intake leading up to the day.

A physiotherapist feels a woman's knee to determine pain

7. What’s the recovery time?

Your recovery time will probably depend on the type of procedure, along with other factors like your health and age. Ask your doctor or specialist how long your journey to recovery should be, so that you know ahead of time what to expect. Also you may want to give consideration as to where you want to spend your recovery. A recent Australian study suggests that for some injuries, recovering at home is as effective as a hospital stay.

If you're an nib member heading to hospital soon, make sure you check out our Going to Hospital page. This tool gives you information on health insurance, tips on how to reduce any out-of-pocket expenses and helpful questions to ask your specialist. To find out the details of your current policy, chat to someone about your upcoming hospital visit or get some guidance, call us on 13 16 42.

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