WAIT! - Don't Take Off Work!
Updated: May 20
Recently, I have seen an increase in patients that want to start making plans for their surgery as soon as they make a consultation appointment. However, most people don't realize the huge checklist that has to be completed prior to having surgery scheduled.
Here are four major areas that have to be completed prior to the day of the surgery: Scheduling –
Setting your date for a surgery is more complicated than just “calling to make an appointment.” There are multiple players in this game that have to be coordinated.
The Surgeon -Some surgeons have designated days and times when they perform non-emergent surgeries, limiting the available days to schedule the procedure.
The Operating room - The hospital keeps a separate calendar of the scheduled surgeries and the assigned operating rooms. Scheduling a surgery at a larger hospitals can be more difficult, if a large number of surgeons are on the calendar.
The Staff – Even with an available surgeon and an empty operating room, we are still not done. Depending on the surgery, you may need up to a dozen additional people. This includes the anesthesiologist, surgical assistants, circulating nurses…the list goes on and on.
The majority of people don’t pay cash for their surgeries; insurance pays for a portion of it. Prior to surgery, the hospital or clinical staff will determine the financial responsibilities of the patient and the insurance company. In addition, they have to confirm if the insurance will actually pay (yes, they can and have denied surgeries.) Depending on the insurance company and the healthcare system, the approval process can take 2 - 4 weeks.
Surgery comes with risks. However, a person can have other health issues that increase those risks of complications even more during and immediately after the surgery. To decrease the risk of major complications, the surgeon will evaluate the patient to make sure they are strong enough to handle the surgery and recovery process.
“So, NOW do I take off work?”
For a major surgery and the recovery, the time off work can average around six weeks. Before scheduling the surgery, it is good to work with employers, professors, and family members before planning this time period off. Please don't assume that your boss will automatically give you "all the time you need." In most cases, they need enough time in advance to find a temporary replacement for you. It's important to work with them to make sure you still have a job after you recover. Quick Note: If your doctor says that you may need surgery, ask what the time frame is from “decision to incision is.”
Planning and having surgery can be a stressful; but you’ll be more frustrated if you don’t wait for everything to be in place before you move forward.