Preparing for Surgery, Treatments and Tests

There are different types of medical treatments available and different wait times for hospitals and physicians across British Columbia.

When it comes to your health, it is important to discuss treatment options with your physician.

Medical tests, treatments or surgeries may have various degrees of risk. These procedures also have varying outcomes in terms of health and quality of life.

If you are scheduled for a surgery, medical treatment or a test, the following questions may provide a starting point to open a discussion with your family physician or your specialist.

Family Physician

  • Why do you think I need to see a specialist?
  • Why have you referred me to this particular specialist?
  • How much experience does he/she have in treating my type of condition?
  • If I need surgery, how long will I have to wait?
  • How can I prepare myself for the surgery?
  • If the specialist has a long wait list, is there another one in the region that can provide the same treatment sooner?


  • How necessary and how urgent is the surgery?
  • What are the risks and benefits of having surgery?
  • Are other treatments available for my condition other than surgery?
  • How long have other patients waited for this type of surgery?
  • Is there evidence my condition will change while I wait?
  • What should I do if my condition changes while I am waiting for surgery?
  • How can I arrange to be contacted on short notice if a cancellation occurs?
  • What should I do if I change my mind about having the surgery, if I need to re-schedule, or if my condition improves and I no longer need surgery?
  • Can you describe to me what this procedure entails?
  • For the procedure I need, how many do you perform each year?
  • What kind of follow-up care or services will I require after the procedure?