Complications are possible in any surgery. Patients may have negative feelings about these complications and may even have a loss of confidence in the surgeon. The worst case scenario is when a loss of patient confidence leads to a litigious end of the patient-surgeon relationship.
It is important to take the time to educate the patient about the nature of his or her diagnosis, and the ways in which it can be remedied well before one schedules a surgical procedure. It is imperative to educate the patient about the potential risks of the proposed surgical plan.
That being said, the patient should understand that the surgeon will manage any complications that arise. It is common for patients to panic in the event that they experience unusual symptoms after surgery. Reporting to the emergency room or other specialist offices is a knee-jerk reaction that often complicates the postoperative course.
It is a good idea to encourage patients to get at least one additional opinion regarding their diagnosis and the proposed plan prior to crystallizing arrangements for surgery. Once the patient has been thoroughly educated on the treatment options, a strong patient-surgeon foundation will precede definitive intervention. The hope is that the strength of this foundation will curb the anxiety and negative emotions that can lead to a loss of confidence should complications arise.