“Are You a Green Light Patient? How to Know You’re Ready for Surgery”

Surgery is a significant decision that requires careful consideration and preparation. It’s not just about the procedure itself but also about your mindset and readiness for the journey ahead. In the medical world, we often refer to “green light patients” as those who are well-prepared, informed, and ready for surgery. Here are some key indicators that may reassure you 

1. You Offer Constructive Feedback:

One clear sign that you’re ready for surgery is your ability to provide constructive feedback about your concerns. While it’s natural to have doubts and questions, being able to clearly communicate them in a constructive manner can help both you and your healthcare team. Your willingness to engage in open and honest discussions with your surgeon is a positive sign that you are mentally prepared for the procedure. Saying you “hate your arms” is not as productive as saying “my skin feels loose, and my jackets are too tight in the shoulders”. If you’ve had a bad experience in plastic surgery before, saying your last surgeon was horrible is less helpful than explaining why (poor communication, post op complications).

2. You Respect the Physician-Patient Relationship:

Respecting the boundaries of the physician-patient relationship is essential. Addressing your surgeon by their first name may come with time, as you build trust and rapport. However, presuming this level of familiarity during your initial meeting might indicate a diminished respect for your surgeon’s role as your healthcare provider.

3. You Value and Respect the Entire Healthcare Team:

Recognizing the importance of the healthcare team, including nurses and administrative staff, is a critical aspect of being a green light patient. Demonstrating respect and kindness to every member of the team reflects your understanding of their significant role in your overall care. A supportive and respectful attitude contributes to a smoother surgical experience.

4. You Take Time to Review Consent Forms:

Being well-informed about your surgery is a fundamental aspect of readiness. Green light patients take the time to carefully read and understand the consent forms. This signifies your acknowledgment of the potential risks and complications associated with the procedure as well as the possibility of just not being happy with the result. Remember, elective surgery is your choice, and knowing what you’re getting into is a vital part of the decision-making process. 

5. You Understand Surgery’s Limitations:

Recognizing the limitations of surgery is crucial, especially if you’re considering a procedure related to weight loss or cosmetic enhancement. Surgery can achieve incredible results, but it’s not a magic solution. A green light patient understands that surgery is a complementary tool, not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and regular exercise. Patients who try to use surgery instead of diet and exercise are rarely happy with the final result.