When To Consider Orthopedic Surgery

January 23, 2016
G2 Orthopedics

Knee and shoulder pain are two of the most common reasons that someone might need orthopedic surgery. Surgery can treat torn ligaments and tendons as well as damaged  joints, cartilage, muscles and bones. Conditions including ACL tears, meniscus tears, rotator cuff tears, shoulder labral tears, shoulder & knee arthritis and more can benefit from orthopedic surgery.

In most cases surgery can be performed using minimally invasive techniques. The result is life without pain and the ability to get back to normal activities. As with all surgery, there are considerations and risks involved so it is important to talk with a specialist, equip yourself with the facts and ask questions before deciding if orthopedic surgery is right for you.

What Surgical Procedure is Needed to Relieve My Knee or Shoulder Pain?

One of the first questions to ask is the type of surgery required to treat your condition. There are so many variables, even for the same surgical procedure, with individual circumstances playing a huge part in the treatment required. You should make sure that the specialist is recommending an individualized treatment for your specific needs. If you are not fully comfortable with what you are hearing it is always ok to seek a second opinion.

Many orthopedic surgeries are performed using minimally invasive techniques such as arthroscopy. This type of surgery utilizes an instrument inserted through a very small incisions, as opposed to the large openings used in traditional open surgical procedures. A small camera on the end of the device is projected on a screen which enables the surgeon see the area in detail and perform the surgery with great precision. This less invasive method means less damage to the soft tissues surrounding the affected area, less pain, faster recovery and healing.

Have Non-surgical Alternatives Been Investigated?

In the majority of cases, orthopedic surgery should only be used when other non-invasive treatments have been fully explored.  In the case of arthritis and cartilage damage, a trustworthy and professional orthopedic surgeon won’t rush into surgery as the first treatment option. After a full medical examination, they will likely begin with other options such as physical therapy, cortisone, or gel injections These options should be thoroughly discussed and considered prior to proceeding with surgery.

Does Pain Impact Your Daily Life?

Are you in pain most of the time?  Can you not lift a gallon of milk out of the refrigerator, wash your hair or get up from a seated position without pain?  If non-surgical options have been tried and the pain is getting worse, or affecting your quality of life, it might be time to consider seeing an orthopedic surgeon that specializes in knees and shoulders.

What Risks are Involved with Orthopedic Surgery?

Although post-operative complications associated with orthopedic surgery are very low, all surgical procedures involve some risk.  The more invasive and lengthy the procedure, the higher the risks.  Your individual factors should also be considered, such as age, health conditions such as obesity, and illnesses. Your surgeon should always discuss these factors in depth, and as a patient you should make sure you understand the risks involved.  If a doctor has recommended surgery but you don’t understand why it is needed, you may want to consider getting a second opinion.

What is the Recovery Process?

One of the most crucial aspects of orthopedic surgery is proper follow-up treatment and care including physical therapy.  Appropriate physical therapy is fundamental in assuring a successful outcome, and needs to be taken very seriously.  It is imperative that physical therapy is carried out by experienced individuals, sessions aren’t skipped, and the recommended exercises are completed at home.

Prior to surgery find out how often follow-up appointments and physical therapy sessions will take place, and what is expected from you. Understand how long your recovery will take, with estimated time-frames for activities like driving and returning to work. Having answers ahead of time will help you know what to expect, schedule help and prepare for the needed time to recover.  Cheating the recovery can mean your surgical outcome might not be as successful.
Above all, take an active position in your care. Ask your orthopedic specialist questions, so you can make informed decisions about your treatment options, recovery, and the role you can play in your own healing journey.

Is it Time for Orthopedic Surgery?

If you’ve tried non-surgical options or have been told you need surgery but aren’t comfortable with the recommendation, contact us for an appointment or second opinion.  Dr. Goradia, with G2, is a knee and shoulder expert surgeon and educator who also develops cutting edge medical advances to provide the least invasive treatment options to patients.  He can evaluate your injury, clearly communicate his recommendation and answer your questions.

Dr. Goradia is also consultant for Arthrex Inc. the world’s leading manufacturer and inventor of orthopaedic medical devices. He co-invented the Arthrex Meniscal Cinch  and SpeedCinch used by surgeons around the world, and he has also developed several surgical videos and journal publications used for educating surgeons in advanced techniques in knee and shoulder arthroscopy.