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November 2003

The Preoperative Discussion as a Prelude to Managing a Complication

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2003;129(11):1163-1165. doi:10.1001/archotol.129.11.1163

ALONG WITH other authors,1,2 I believe that the time spent in the preoperative discussion may be the most important time spent with patients (and their families). The primary reason to have a preoperative discussion is to ensure that the physician's treatment plan matches the expectations of the patient and the patient's family, to ease their concerns as much as possible, and to avoid medical, emotional, or legal problems. Although it is impossible to cover every aspect and nuance of the preoperative discussion, after 37 years of practice, I emphasize the need to always accomplish each of these 4 primary goals: (1) provide all necessary information to the patient; (2) obtain all necessary information from the patient; (3) create an atmosphere of caring, concern, and professionalism; and (4) define reasonable expectations for patient and family. Moreover, because of the possibility of complications, I will present 5 additional considerations.

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