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Elective Inguinal Hernia Repair: A Unified Informed Consent, or Who Wants to Know What?

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Informed consent is increasingly being standardized. We sought to evaluate variability in the amount and quality of information desired by patients in choosing whether to undergo elective surgical hernia repair, a prototypical low- to moderate-risk common procedure. Consecutive stable outpatients were asked to assume that they were considering hernia repair and interviewed with a standard questionnaire that asked them to rate their interest in learning about the natural history, pathology, and management of inguinal hernia as well as herniorrhaphy complications and postoperative recovery. Ninety-eight consecutive patients exhibited substantial interpersonal variability in their level of interest in receiving information. Although interest in some types of information tended to correlate with interest in other types of information, patients' degree of interest in receiving information about anesthesia during the procedure was independent of other variables. Education and previous exposure to individuals with hernias also affected interest in receiving potentially important information before deciding whether to consent to hernia surgery. Patients may vary with regard to the information they want to receive when deciding whether to consent to an invasive procedure. It may be preferable to individualize the consent process to patients' preferences rather than adhering to standardized content.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: From the Departments of Surgery, John D. Dingell Veterans' Affairs Medical Center and Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan

Publication date: April 1, 2009

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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