Surgical Care

Surgery is often the last resort for health problems. From choosing the right surgeon to becoming an informed member on your surgery and recovery team can make all the difference in how quickly you heal without complications. Most complications come from dealing with the unknown. Our articles will give you practical information you can use to help you make the best choices and speed you on your way back to good health!

Your first thoughts may be about how to get out of the surgery and you may be asking yourself whether you really need the surgery. Let’s look at the different categories of surgery. If you don’t know which category your surgery is in ask your surgeon.

Optional Surgery
This is surgery that you choose to have. It is not necessary for your health, but you just want it. Usually, optional surgery is for cosmetic reasons such as a face lift or tummy tuck. Keep in mind that not all cosmetic surgery is optional. Examples include:

  • liposuction
  • breast implant
  • tattoo removal
  • nose reshaping
This surgery also has an element of choice, but less choice than optional. These surgery include corrective procedures that if left alone would not cause worsening of your condition or cause complications later. That means, if you elect not to have the surgery, things will stay the way the are and you will just live with the problem. An example would be vasectomy or tubal ligation. Elective surgery also includes cosmetic surgery that most people think should be corrected but there is no medical or health reason for it. Examples include:

  • bunion removal
  • dental enhancements
  • cataract removal
  • removing birthmarks
When surgery is necessary, it’s your doctor’s job to try to talk you into the surgery. Even so, no one can make you have surgery. The choice is entirely up to you. Delaying this type surgery usually results in your condition getting worse. But you will likely have time to discuss the issues and get ready for surgery. Most surgery falls into this category. Examples include:

Essential surgery is similar to elective but has more urgency. That is, if you don’t have the surgery right away, your condition could worsen quickly. Not having the surgery could mean sudden deterioration or even sudden death. Once diagnosed, there is no argument as to whether you should or should not have the surgery. You really have no choice, but you have the legal right to refuse it.Examples include:

  • heart or kidney transplant
  • heart valve replacement
  • coronary artery bypass
  • appendectomy
Emergency surgery is always urgent and sometimes needed to save your life. It’s needed when vital functions are threatened from heart, circulation or brain problems. Or when there is a risk of overwhelming infection or poisoning. Severe bleeding is a common need for emergency surgery.

You should now be able to determine which type of surgery you are considering and which ones give you time to decide and which ones you should act right away on. Also, don’t hesitate to change your mind about having optional or elective surgery, especially if the risks outweigh the benefits.

Below is a list of surgeons and a link to the general types of surgery they perform.

Not sure what kind of surgeon you need—see our list of surgeries and what kind of surgeon does that operation?