Monday, April 11, 2016

MRI Follow-Up & My Pre-Surgical Questions

Well gang, we'll see what tomorrow brings. Two weeks ago I had (another) MRI of the left ankle, and tomorrow afternoon is my follow-up appointment with the ankle doc. In our last appointment, he was fairly certain I had a tear in my anterior talofibular ligament. At this point, it is really a question of to what degree. I've pretty much resigned myself to this being a surgical fix, which means that if tomorrow he says it isn't, I will be very pleasantly surprised.

Before any big doctor's appointment, it is a good idea to come up with a list of questions to ask your doctor to make sure that you have a good understanding of exactly what is going happen. If possible, it is also a great idea to bring along a buddy to your appointment. Tomorrow my hubby is actually coming with me. He wasn't able to come with me for the appointment before my last surgeries, but I had a dear friend who did, and she was a great advocate. Hubby will be perfect for this because while I get very emotional which sometimes makes it hard for me to listen, he is very analytical and can stay calm in stressful situations, which this will be for me.

I've also written out a whole list of questions that I will print out and bring with us in the morning. Now, several of these are tailored specifically to me, but please feel free to look this over if you're going through something like this yourself and cherry pick those that will be helpful for you as needed.

Questions for the Surgeon:

  1. What is the official diagnosis?
  2. Is this a further complication of my previous problems, or a new problem?
  3. Between now and when we schedule the surgery, do you have any suggestions for pain management, especially as I am trying to avoid even otc pain killers because of concern over rebound headaches?
  1. Will this require surgery? At this point are there any alternatives?
  2. What is the procedure that you recommend?
  3. Will this surgery completely solve this problem, or will further work need to be done in the future?
  4. What are the risks associated with this procedure?
  5. How does this differ from what we did during the December 2015 surgery, and will that prior surgery cause any complications?
  6. Will hardware be required?
    1. If so, how will we avoid the titanium hardware rejection we saw with December 2015 surgery
  7. How long will the procedure last
  8. Which hospital will the procedure be done at?
  9. Will it be inpatient or outpatient?
  10. How soon are you scheduling surgeries?
  11. I am suffering from daily migraine headaches. Will that complicate the anesthesia and/or recovery?
Recovery & Outcomes

  1. What are the optimistic and realistic recovery times for this procedure?
  2. Will I be in a cast following the surgery, and if so for how long?
  3. Will I be in a walking boot following the surgery and/or cast, and if so for how long?
  4. When can I return to physical therapy, physical activity, and work?
  5. Will I continue to have further problems with my ankle after this surgery, regardless of this individual procedure?
  6. What can I do in future to prevent further damage to my ankle?

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