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Having surgery on Tuesday. What questions should I ask?

The surgery, according to my instruction sheet, will be a "bilateral L5-S1 laminotomy foraminotomy possible discesctomy."

The surgeon who is performing the operation has a very good reputation and was recommended by several doctors. However, my main doctor described him (quite charitably) as "terse." My two appointments with the surgeon to date have lasted perhaps 3 minutes each. I don't expect him to volunteer extra information, so I want to make sure I ask the right questions. On my list so far:

  • Why only a "possible" discesctomy? (He didn't mention a discesctomy during my appointment. I only saw it on the paperwork mailed out by his office. It does make sense given my scans, but I want to understand his intentions.)
  • What are the risks?
  • What red flags should I watch out for post-surgery?
  • When can I start physical therapy?
  • Can you refer me to a PT? (I asked my regular doctor for a referral; he said the surgeon would have a better recommendation.)
  • How long will it be before I can...? (followed by a long list of my normal activities)

Also, if anyone has any tips or advice to share, I'd be most grateful!

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