The decision to have surgery following an injury is a serious and complicated one. It can be difficult when navigating the minefield of information you receive to know what is the right pathway for you. Unfortunately, the answer is not always obvious which can be very confusing. To ensure that surgery is right for you, here are a few questions it pays to ask yourself and your medical team before making a decision.
How much will surgery cost and will I need to take time off work?
One of the major downsides of surgery is that you will often need to take time off work to recover, resulting in lost income. The cost of the surgery itself may not be completely covered, particularly for elective procedures and you will often need to visit physiotherapy afterwards. The cost of surgery can really add up, and if you can achieve similar results with physiotherapy, you might find yourself in a much better financial situation.
What are the potential complications and success rates for your surgery?
All surgeries come with risks and potential complications, the probability of these will vary depending on the type of surgery, your age and general health. It is also important to compare the success rates of surgery with a period of physiotherapy treatment. Optimal surgical outcomes still often depend on effective post-surgery physiotherapy treatment, which can be an argument for considering physiotherapy first. In some cases, however, healing simply will not occur without surgical intervention and physiotherapy will have little success in resolving the issue.
What are your post-surgical goals?
Not everyone wants to ski down a mountain, but for some, being able to push and trust their bodies is important for both their income and quality of life. Surgery that aims to repair instability might be the right decision for someone who has high athletic demands on their body, but not for another person who isn’t very active. Setting your goals for your body can help to guide your decision making process.
Before making any major decisions, it is important to consult your medical team to ensure you are well educated in all the risks and benefits of choosing surgery.