Medical technology has made great advancements over the last few decades and continues to accelerate into the future. Nowadays joint replacements and life saving invasive techniques are common-place and engineered limbs and bionic technology seem only a breath away.
But all surgeries come with risks and possible negative outcomes. Are you sure you should have a surgery? Here are 4 things you should consider and ask your specialist before going under the knife:
1 Is there a conservative management option? Many conditions can be treated successfully through a combination of lifestyle changes, improving how your body moves and a bit of hands on treatment to assist. A good example of how this works is with osteoarthritis in the knee. Recent studies have shown that arthroscopes to clean out the damaged cartilage give such poor results that the surgery is up for removal from the Medicare system.
Instead of this costly and often painful surgery, many people experience significantimprovements with a combination of weight loss, exercises to strengthen the knee muscles and hands-on therapy to loosen surrounding soft tissue.
2. What is the success rate of that type of surgery? Depending on your specific case and the type of surgery involved there can be a range of outcomes. The majority of surgeries offered in Australia have been performed hundreds or even thousands of times.
The specialist whose care you are under will be able to explain based on all these past surgeries the rates of total recovery, partial recovery or surgery failure. For example, studies have shown that hip replacements are successful in 85-90% of patients but this can be affected by how experienced your surgeon and how frequent your reviews occur after the surgery.
3. What are the risk factors or negative outcomes? Common risk factors for undergoing surgery include being overweight, history of smoking and heavy drinking. There can also be other factors related to chronic diseases you may suffer. Its important to understand how these factors may impact upon the possibility of negative outcomes post surgery. For example, regular smokers and people who are overweight are more likely to experience complications under anaesthesia and possibly have increased rates of pneumonia post surgery.
4. Have you received a second opinion? The Australian medical system is world class and is lucky to be staffed by some of the leading health experts in the world. However, when considering undergoing surgery its useful to get a second opinion to make sure this is the best option for you. This can also apply to any other form of treatment within the health care system.
BodyWorx offers free initial assessments to readers of intouch magazine. If you would like a second opinion about upcoming surgery or current physical treatments please feel free to take advantage of this offer.