When Is Surgery the Best Option?

Category: Blog

Doctors and surgeons will often choose to implement surgical procedures based on what’s been done the most in the past. However, if you are wary of jumping right into a surgical procedure, you should talk to your doctor about all options available to you before you make a final decision. If you aren’t convinced your doctor is telling you all your options, get a second opinion.

Obviously, for some conditions, surgery is the best, fastest, and sometimes the only way to correct an ailment or chronic illness.  However, for many conditions these days, there are more and more non-surgical treatments being offered as an alternative to going under the knife.

So, the question is, “When is surgery the best option?”

To begin, compare the proposed surgical procedure’s pros and cons with the non-surgical procedure’s pros and cons. Make sure you are made aware of any complications that either option may present.

In some cases, non-surgical options may only alleviate the symptoms of the ailment, but not permanently address it. While we would want to consider the non-invasive techniques first, surgery would mostly be the last resort, and often because non-surgical approaches in that particular case will not work.

Case Study

An overweight patient had been having regular knee pain for many years.  The doctor overseeing the case at the time simply told him nothing could be done until he lost enough weight to qualify for knee surgery.

The problem? The patient’s knee pain had advanced to the point that the idea of exercise was too painful to consider doing it regularly enough. Even though the patient worked to achieve weight loss through diet, the lack of exercise was making progress slow.  In the meantime, the patient was in almost constant discomfort.

Enter Doctor #2.  After an initial evaluation, the second doctor immediately started discussing other options that could be administered immediately. The patient was encouraged to lose weight; they were given non-invasive, natural therapies to manage the pain.  This allowed them to participate in many things they were unable to do for a long time. Eventually, they were able to get the knee surgery, that was needed to physically repair the knee.

When weighing the pros and cons of surgery vs. non-surgical treatments, the most important thing to accomplish is making sure you have all the information to make an educated decision.

While the focus should be moving away from unnecessary surgeries or overly medicating oneself, a well-rounded physician can:

  • Assess the level of progression of the condition
  • Determine if nonsurgical approaches can treat the cause of the problem
  • Give you a proper regime and treatment plan to eventually be able to live life to the fullest again

For all your pain needs, whether chronic, acute, or a specific injury or condition, please come see us at Unity Physician Services.  We will take good care of you to ensure we stop the pain and get you going again.