Woman sitting on examine table
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"Is this the best setting for me?"

Make sure the doctor knows your entire health history and takes your personal risk of complications into account.

Is your office accredited and licensed?"

For surgery that involves anesthesia, a thumbs-up from your state or one of the major accrediting organizations is a must—even when the law doesn't demand it. You can find accredited practices on the websites of the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF.org), the Joint Commission (QualityCheck.org, click on Advanced Search, then Office-Based Surgery), or the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC.org).

"Who will administer the anesthesia?"

For more than minimal sedation, safety demands that it be a board-certified anesthesiologist or a certified registered nurse anesthetist.

"Are you board-certified in this field?"

You can check the credentials of both the operating physician and the anesthesiologist at the American Board of Medical Specialties' website (ABMS.org).

"What emergency procedures are in place?"

Well-maintained equipment—including an automatic external defibrillator, intubation equipment, and oxygen supply—are vital in those crucial minutes before an ambulance arrives. Staff should also have professional resuscitation training, such as the Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support program from the American Heart Association.

"Who will monitor my recovery?"

A doctor or nurse should be by your side until you're ready to go home.

Next: O's special report on operating rooms versus office-based surgeries