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Questions to Ask Your Neurosurgeon

Here are some questions to ask your neurosurgeon. These questions can help you decide if surgery is the best treatment option for you, prepare you for surgery, and make sure you’re receiving the best possible care.

  • Why do I need surgery? 
  • What type of surgery do I need (minimally invasive surgery, craniotomy, awake craniotomy, etc.)?   
  • What is your experience doing this type of surgery? 
  • Have you performed surgery on someone with my tumor type before? 
  • If so, how many people with my tumor type do you perform surgery on each year? 
  • How soon do I need to have surgery? 
  • Are there possible risks if I choose to delay surgery? 
  • What are the possible risks of surgery? 
  • What are the benefits of surgery? 
  • Should I get a second opinion? 
  • What other specialists will be a part of my surgical team (anesthesiologist, surgical tech, resident, fellow, primary surgeon, secondary surgeon, etc.)? 
  • What other specialists will be part of my team after surgery (neuro-oncologist, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, advanced practice nurse, nurse navigator, pharmacist, speech therapist, neuropsychologist, social worker, nutritionist, physical therapist, etc.)? 
  • How long will the surgery take? 
  • What do I need to do to prepare for surgery (changes in medications, diet, or activity)? 
  • How long will I be in the hospital after surgery? 
  • How long will it take for me to recover from surgery? 
  • How long after surgery will it take for me to return to normal activities? 
  • What changes should I anticipate after surgery (ability to be independent, work, drive, etc.)?  
  • Will I need rehabilitation services, such as speech therapy or physical therapy?  
  • Should I consider clinical trials before surgery?  
  • Should I consider surgical clinical trials? If so, do you have available trials that I am eligible for?  
  • Will surgery impact my ability to enroll in clinical trials in the future? 
  • What happens to my tumor tissue after surgery? For example, do you send it to pathology for testing or keep it for research?  
  • Will I have access to my tumor tissue in the future?  

We encourage you to print these questions and bring them with you to your appointment.

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