Know all the risks going in

Q. I just read about a young girl who had breast augmentation surgery and is now in a coma. I am thinking of having surgery and I’m concerned about the possibility of having that happen to me. Is it possible to have that happen even if you go to a good doctor?

While I would like to tell you that there is no possibility this could happen to you, I would be lying. Surgery has risks and benefits. You should discuss any procedure with a doctor, asking about the best-case and worst-case scenarios.

When searching for a surgeon, ask the surgeon who’s doing the anesthesia and where the surgery is going to take place. Find out if a nurse anesthetist under the care of an anesthesiologist will be taking care of you, or if it will be an anesthesiologist who is board-certified. If it is a nurse anesthetist, find out who will be responsible for your care if something should happen. Each state has its own laws as to who ultimately is responsible for your care should an emergency arise. There is no advantage of not being board-certified.

Prior to surgery the patient should have a medical evaluation to determine if there’s any family history or history of problems with either bleeding or anesthesia. Depending on your age, your surgeon will take blood tests and conduct a physical exam to determine if you are well enough to undergo elective surgery.

In addition, the facility where you are going should be certified.

Do not be scared to ask these questions. If the answers do not make you feel comfortable, find one of the many board-certified surgeons operating in a certified facility under the care of a board-certified anesthesiologist and or nurse anesthetist.

Dr. Carlos Wolf is a partner at Email your questions to: