Image Credits: Spectrum Orthopaedics 

Things you need to know before you go in for Orthopedic Surgery

Nobody wishes to go for unnecessary surgery. The key to all healthcare, is that prevention is better than cure. In some instances, you can’t control all your ailments, and surgery will be the only treatment option. But on the other hand, a lot of people wish to get rid of the issue at hand that is stopping them from being more mobile and doing the things they were able to do previously. A lot of the orthopedic surgery, though complicated, can improve your quality of life. However, there are a lot of surgeries such as spinal disc decompression, and others that can be quite painful and require substantial healing periods. This is why there are certain factors that you need to consider before you go in for your orthopedic surgery.

Try different remedies first

 A lot of the orthopedic surgeons do not want you to rush into surgery. Their first method of treatment for aching backs, hips, shoulders, and knees would involve some over the counter pain medication and supplements. They might even suggest some physical therapy so as to increase strength and function. If the patient is still not experiencing relief, then they might recommend steroid injections, which are great at relieving flare-ups. The surgeons would go through different treatments before finally suggesting surgeries, which can be pretty complex.

There might not be any need of complicated diagnostics

It is common for patients nowadays to arrive at the surgeon’s office for a consultation with MRI results in hand. However, a lot of orthopedic surgeons suggest that the patients rely on lower-tech diagnostic methods instead. An expensive run at the MRI might not even be necessary. An extensive physical history, careful hands-on physical examination, and a significantly cheaper X-Ray might be necessary. X-ray is often successful in providing a lot of primary information, estimating up to 95% accuracy. Health issues are easily detectable through X-rays, and MRIs are not often used as a common diagnostic tool.

Don’t have surgery till you are ready to go for rehab

If you are having an ankle scoped and are active, you might not even need physical therapy after your surgery. However, if you are having a joint replaced, then going through physical therapy is a crucial part of your healing process. It might not feel too good, but it is a part of normal healing. Physical therapy strengthens the muscles that enable normal functioning of the joint.

We asked Dr. Gordon Slater what to use in bunion surgery. Dr Slater is an expert in minimally invasive foot surgery, especially considering the bunions and orthopedic trauma. His focus includes ankle surgery, arthroscopy, and sports injuries along with foot surgeries. He said the most common test was a weight bearing X-ray in bunions. 

Well that is a pretty simple test!

Orthopaedic Surgery Post-Op Pain Management 

With each surgery, there is a need for post operative care. Termed formally as “Acute Post-Operative Pain Management” strategies, studies have indicated that the pain levels of orthopaedic surgeries are actually on the higher end of the scale. Statistically, on the orthopaedic scale, 86% of patients identify their pain to be on the moderate to extreme scale. 

Patient care is therefore one of the key contributors to the choice of orthopaedic surgeon. As a patient, it is very important for you to feel assured that they will be in good hands. Surgery carries with it more than just the physical experience, and  patients have indicated their experiences of mental stresses as influencing their ability to fully heal once the surgery was concluded. Patients fear pain to the point where some will actually delay their surgery until the last minute due to their apprehension, it is therefore important to have an appropriate plan in place that will alleviate the condition when it arises. 

As the field of medicine evolves, postoperative care is becoming a primary area of concern in the orthopaedic field. The key to successfully managing the pain is to have a plan that will facilitate the healing process. During the process, key personnel such as the orthopaedic surgeon, nurses and anaesthesiologists will be on hand to facilitate the pain plan that will enhance patient healing and recovery at a much faster pace. 

Surgical care has identified the following as ideal optimization points for a patient: 

  1. Optimizing pain control for the individual patient both during and after surgery.
  2. Ensuring safety both during and after surgery.
  3. Minimizing post surgical side effects.
  4. Maintaining ease of use for staff and patients. The majority of pain management actually takes place at home, post surgery so plans are in place during the hospital visit to ensure that the patients and their givers are well versed with respect to the care plan.
  5. Reducing complications is critical with time. All medical procedures have risks and it will be important to factor in the criteria such as gender and age before the surgery itself is actually attempted.

Establishing a Good Relationship With your Orthopaedic Surgeon

Your orthopaedic surgeon is there to provide you with a service as you traverse your healing journey. A good relationship with your doctor will ensure that the healing process proceeds much faster. With improved confidence in the doctor, and the prescribed plan, patients can actually anticipate what will happen in a more realistic fashion. Appeasing the fears of the patients will ensure a much smoother recovery. With your surgeon, you will identify your ideal plan, and as a result be in a position to ensure that the patient is not in a state where they are resuming activities prior to the stated healing time. 

Patient and Caregiver Education

Knowledge is always power. Since a team of individuals will be the ones who will be treating the patient, it is a good idea for the patient and their caregivers to get to know the nursing staff at their treatment facility. The team will go through the patient’s medical history, and collecting help with the healing process. In the instance that the doctor is not immediately available, the nursing staff will be the individuals who will be able to facilitate the healing process. They are the ideal individuals to get to know, as the process unfolds. 

Drug Management 

With orthopaedic surgeries ranking high for pain threshold, ensure that you and your doctor carve out a plan for appropriate therapies such as drugs during your healing process. When the surgery is  completed, you may have a series of either over the counter drugs such as pain relievers and antibiotics to take in order to ensure that you are controlling post-operative infections and reducing your fever so that you can heal. 

Your health is your wealth, so take the time to ensure that your surgical process is as smooth as possible. Ensure that you are in the process of maximizing your knowledge of what you are to know, and then taking the appropriate action. 


  1. Medscape:

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Dr. Gordon Slater

Dr. Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions.

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Dr Gordon Slater is a highly-skilled surgeon specialising in foot and ankle conditions and sports injuries. Dr Slater is one of the first foot and ankle surgeons in Australia to adopt minimally invasive surgical techniques. He routinely uses MIS to treat a range of conditions, including bunions. MIS  has many advantages including shorter operating times, reduced post-operative pain, reduced risk of infection, minimal scarring and better cosmetic outcomes.

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