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Is orthopedic surgery generally recommended?

Most orthopedic injuries may be healed using an array of treatments such as medication, lifestyle changes and physical therapy. Orthopedic surgery is only recommended when symptoms cannot be alleviated by non-surgical treatments.

Whether orthopedic surgery is the most suitable option for you depends on numerous factors. In order to receive the right treatment for your condition, you first need a proper diagnosis. Your physician might request the following:

  • a complete medical evaluation
  • your medical history
  • a physical examination
  • X-rays for a precise assessment of the injury
  • blood tests
  • MRI

After you underwent all the tests and examinations requested by your doctor, they will be able to present you a series of treatment options you can choose from, as well as their benefits and risks. Before you make the final decision, it is recommended to be aware of all the advantages and disadvantages of each treatment approach.

You have non-surgical and surgical options

Non-surgical treatments are generally suggested first in order to avoid unnecessary surgery. This treatment regimen begins with pain medication (muscle relaxants, analgesics, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). If your distressing symptoms do not considerably improve, the next step will involve epidural steroid injections, which can reduce inflammation, or hyaluronic acid gel injections, which can eliminate pain and stiffness. Non-surgical treatment should also be accompanied by physical therapy for efficient results, as well as by exercising, swimming, or other recommended activity or sport. Moreover, you should make your diet a priority and try to lose weight if necessary. Other non-surgical approaches include cold laser therapy, ultrasound therapy, electrotherapy, plasma therapy and wearing orthotics (braces for your knee, ankle or foot, back supports, cervical collars, etc.)

If non-surgical treatment fails to help and you still experience major pain and motion limitation which affect your daily activities, it is probably time to plan your orthopedic surgery with your doctor. Although orthopedic surgery is a safe and reliable medical intervention, you should opt for it only after you have unsuccessfully tried multiple non-surgical options.

Disclaimer: We do not assume responsibility for the use of the provided information or its interpretation. Our efforts are towards providing current and reliable information; however these should not be considered, or used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment.

Source: https://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Education/Medical-Library/