Can I Ask About A Surgeon’s Personal Complication Rates?

Last Modified: February 17, 2011


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

Is it okay to ask your surgeon what their rates of complications are- is that something they know off hand and should be willing to share?


Daniel Eun, MD, Director of Robotic and Minimally Invasive Urologic Oncology and Reconstruction at?PENN Urology at Pennsylvania Hospital, responds:

Absolutely, and especially for this operation. A surgeon should be able to tell you how many they've done, average operation times, converted to open rates (how often they need to switch from robotic procedure to open prostatectomy during the procedure), blood transfusion rates, continence and erectile function post surgery, etc. A surgeon should be able to tell you published standards as well as personal results. You should also inquire about how they define continence and erectile function, so you can compare apples to apples in a second opinion.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. See the full transcript of Prostate cancer treatment: where are we now?