When do you need surgery? That’s an important question, and it’s one that patients should ask their doctor before making any treatment decisions. Should you have surgery right away or do nothing and wait it out? The answer is not as straightforward as you think. It depends on your situation. This article provides a handy guide on when to consider turning to surgery to help you with whatever health issues you’re facing.
A surgery decision doesn’t have to be rushed into. It may be better if you take a little time to think things through before going under the knife. Deciding whether or not to have an operation requires some severe considerations about your health and longevity. Your doctor might recommend immediate surgery when there is no choice—or even when there is an alternative option like non-invasive treatment or medication—but in most cases, you should weigh all your options before making a final decision on whether or not to go under the knife.
5 Signs That Surgery Is the Best Option
If you’re struggling with chronic pain and other symptoms, it can be hard to know when surgery is necessary. The decision is not always easy, and even your doctor may disagree with your decision if they believe that non-surgical treatment will be more effective. These are some factors that will help you determine whether surgery should be considered as a possibility.
1. The Results of Injection Therapy Are Not Successful
If injection therapy does not improve your symptoms, it may be time to consider surgery. Cortisone is a medication that reduces inflammation and can bring you temporary relief from pain, but it does not heal underlying problems.
2. Other Non-surgical Treatments Have Failed
If injections do not work for you, you’ll want to try other non-surgical treatments before resorting to surgery. This includes exercises, physical therapy, and steroid-eluting or injections more common in knee pain than neck pain.
3. You’re Experiencing Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis is a condition that occurs when there is a narrowing of one or more of your spinal canal’s openings—the nerve roots exit through these openings and can become compressed if they’re too small. If you have been diagnosed with cervical, thoracic, or lumbar spinal stenosis, it may be time to consider surgery.
The symptoms of spinal stenosis include neck pain, arm pain, low back pain (which may radiate into your leg), numbness in arms and legs, headaches, and weakness in arms or legs; however, each person may experience symptoms differently depending on where their nerve compression is located within their spine. Your doctor may conduct an MRI as part of your diagnostic process to ensure that you have spinal stenosis and not another type of injury.
4. Your Pain Interferes with Daily Activities
Before considering surgery, you’ll want to make sure that your current treatment options allow you to participate in everyday activities like work and family life. If pain interferes with your daily routine, surgery might be an option worth exploring. In most cases, however, it’s wise to first try injections or physical therapy before jumping into invasive treatment such as surgery. Don’t let pain prevent you from enjoying all of life’s great moments—there is no need for surgical intervention if non-surgical methods allow you to live a normal, active lifestyle.
5. You exhausted all conservative treatment options
Many conditions can be treated without surgery. Your doctor will try many different types of treatment before considering surgery, so make sure to give these treatments adequate time to work before moving on. For example, if you have a herniated disc that is causing symptoms in your neck or back and your doctor prescribes you an epidural steroid injection for pain relief, don’t assume that one injection will fix your issue and rule out surgery right away. Give conservative care a chance first; talk with other patients recovering from non-surgical care before jumping into invasive treatment like surgery.
5 Steps to Prepare for Surgery
If you’re considering surgery, it’s essential to do your research and know the risks. If a procedure is deemed medically necessary, your insurance will likely cover it. But if you’re thinking about getting surgery to improve your appearance, you’ll be paying out of pocket. So, before you go under the knife, make sure it’s right for you.
1. Do Your Research
Before choosing a doctor or surgeon, do plenty of research and ask lots of questions. Check with the Better Business Bureau and verify that surgeons are board-certified and state-licensed. Be wary of online reviews — they could be fake. Find out what results in other patients have gotten from the same doctor. Also, make sure to talk to your primary care doctor to see if they think this procedure is correct for you.
2. Make Sure You Have Enough Recovery Time
Surgery can be painful and require a long recovery time, depending on which procedure you get. This can hinder your ability to get back to work or take care of yourself and your family during that time. Before deciding on a procedure, consider all the ways it may affect your life, especially if it’s elective surgery rather than medically necessary surgery.
3. Ask About Risks and Complications
Many surgeries come with risks or complications. Consider all the possible risks before getting a procedure and ensure you have time to recover. Any surgery comes with risks and complications, but for the most part, the complications are minor. While complications aren’t familiar, it’s still essential to ask your doctor any questions or concerns you have. And don’t worry — complications from surgery are usually treatable, and the majority of people do just fine with the surgery. Even those who have complications can often go on to live everyday lives.
4. Tell Your Family or Friends About Your Surgery
Someone close to you must know what’s going on beforehand. They can help support you through the process. And in case of an emergency, they will know how to get in touch with your doctor.
5. Prepare for Hospitalization
If you need to stay overnight at a hospital before or after surgery, here are a few things to consider – Pack a bag for everything you might need, including toiletries and medications. Make sure to pack plenty of comfortable clothes, too. Most hospitals provide robes, but they may not be very comfortable.
Also, include a pair of slip-on shoes with rubber soles that won’t skid. If you have any food, medicine, or latex allergies, let the staff know before you arrive at the hospital. You should also bring insurance information and documentation like X-rays when you go to the hospital. This will help doctors determine the best course of treatment for you before and after surgery.
Bringing a support person with you can help a lot. A loving person by your side may help you relax and lower your blood pressure. They can help remind you of any questions or worries or help ease the fear before surgery. As they can’t stay in the OR with you, they need to leave at some point, so make sure they know when this is and where they will go while they wait for surgery to be over. They should also know how to contact family members and friends so they can share updates on how surgery is going.
As you can see, there are a wide variety of circumstances where surgery may be indicated. It should be stressed that surgery should not be treated as a first resort in any given situation. Take time to weigh the pros and cons, seeking advice and guidance along the way. The best option will likely vary widely depending on the current condition of your knee and the specifics of your situation.
As you can see, there are undoubtedly several steps to take before your surgery, and understanding them better will reduce your stress level and allow you to focus on healing after your surgery. Take the time to consider or revisit each step so that you can relax and let the experts take care of the hard work when you’re having surgery.
1. What do I need to do before my surgery?
It is essential to know your medical history and list of current medications. Be sure to tell your doctor about any allergies, including anaesthetic-related allergies. Share information about previous surgeries and hospital stays, including dates, reasons and outcomes.
2. What do I need to know about my pre-surgery tests?
You and your doctor will discuss which tests you need before surgery. You may have tests run at the hospital or clinic or a separate lab or office. If you need blood work, you may be able to have the blood drawn at a local testing centre and the results sent directly to your doctor’s office ahead of time.
3. What can I do to prepare?
To get ready for surgery, talk with your health care provider about your medical history and current medications. Be sure to tell them about any changes in your health since you last saw that provider.
4. When should I stop taking certain self-care medicines?
Ask your doctor whether to take aspirin, blood thinners (anticoagulants) or other blood-thinning products, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, clopidogrel, and dabigatran.
5. What should I eat or drink before my surgery?
It would help if you had only clear liquids three to six hours before your surgery. These include water, juice, tea, and lemonade.