Choosing Wisely
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5 QUESTIONS to Ask About Medical Tests Before You Have Surgery

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What are medical tests before surgery? Sometimes, before surgery, you will get medical tests, also known as pre-operative or “pre-op” tests. These might include a chest X-ray, blood and urine samples, or heart and lung tests.

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Do I really need these tests? They can be helpful if you are having serious surgery, especially if you have health problems. But if your surgery is minor or low-risk, you probably don’t need them. Ask your doctor or surgeon.

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What are the risks? Ask about any false alarms the tests might cause or if they could lead to more tests, procedures, or a surgery delay.

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Is this test different than the one I had recently? Ask your doctor to check your test records from the last six months. Usually you don’t need to repeat a recent test if your condition hasn’t changed.

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How much does it cost? Ask if the tests are part of your surgery expenses and what your insurance will cover.

Use these 5 questions to talk to your doctor about which pre-op tests you need — and which you don’t need.

Some pre-op tests provide little benefit. And in some cases, they may even cause harm.

Talk to your doctor to make sure you end up with the right pre-op tests — not too many and not too few.

 

Consumer Health Choices