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Informed procedural consent

Marsha Ryan, MD, JD, FACS
Michael S Sinha, MD, JD, MPH
Section Editor
Hilary Sanfey, MD
Deputy Editor
Kathryn A Collins, MD, PhD, FACS


Physicians have a legal and ethical responsibility to provide adequate information to the patient so that he or she is able to process the information and make appropriate decisions [1]. An educated patient also benefits the physician, both in terms of cooperation in the planned intervention and in reducing acrimony in case of complications [1]. The physician who teaches and responds carefully brings the patient into the medical decision-making process, addresses the patient's concerns, and creates reasonable expectations regarding outcomes.

This topic focuses on the informed consent session. Additional information regarding the consent process and related ethical issues for adolescent health care, gynecologic care, the intensive care unit, and end of life care is presented elsewhere. (See "Consent in adolescent health care" and "Overview of preoperative evaluation and preparation for gynecologic surgery", section on 'Informed consent and patient expectations' and "Ethics in the intensive care unit: Informed consent" and "Legal aspects in palliative and end of life care in the United States".)


The benefits of obtaining informed consent extend beyond the simple transmission of information from someone who has knowledge (the physician) to someone who does not (the patient). The benefits of truly informed consent include [1]:

Protecting the patient's right of self-determination

Engaging the patient in his or her health care

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Sep 28, 2017.
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