Despite modern technology (including computer-guided navigation, robotics, instrumentation and modern imaging) and modern techniques (the latest in keyhole surgery), surgery does not come with a 100% guarantee.
Having said that, there are many operations that I can do where I am 90-95% sure that you are going to do very well.
I can also safely say that the risk of the surgery is very low. This is calculated by looking at the hundreds of cases I have personally done and calculating the number of complications I have had over this time. For the serious complications, this calculates at less than 1% which is much better than the average. Unfortunately, not all surgeons keep track of their results and instead just quote an average number without really knowing what their own true number is.
The advantage of keeping track of my own results is I can tell if there is an area I need to improve further, or if there is an area I can be proud of. Because of this process of constant learning, I can now be very proud of the high level of surgical technique for every operation I perform.
Despite these positives, however, you may still not achieve the goal of surgery that we set. For almost all patients the goal of surgery is to improve your quality of life, and get back to normal life as soon as possible. There are many things that can influence this. There are several factors that give a clue as to how well you will go, including our history, my examination findings and your scan. During the time I see and examine you and your scans, I will be looking for these factors so I can give you the best prediction of how you will be after keyhole surgery. It is my objective to give you as accurate a prediction as possible and then try to achieve that or do better. For example, in many cases, I predicate a 90-95% chance of being pain-free and returning to normal. In other cases, I may calculate that you have a 60% chance of being better, a 35% chance of being the same and a 5% chance of being slightly worse. In this situation, I would go through all the details with you clearly and together we would make a decision about what we are going to do with those odds based on how bad your quality of life is.
When I see you I will give you the most accurate prediction I can so you can make an informed decision.
There is no role for hopeful predictions or falsely positive predictions. Your health is your most valuable asset and to that end I will treat it as such. This starts with a brutally honest and scientific discussion.