When it comes to treating people, surgery is the method that carries the drama. You don’t see climaxes of “ER” or “Grey’s Anatomy” where they’re forging an emergency pair of orthotics, after all!
(Not that we wouldn’t like to see that.)
Surgery, however, should always be considered a final option. If there are other treatments that can effectively treat or manage a condition, they will almost always be recommended first before a surgical procedure.
Why is that? Surgery is not only dramatic, it’s traumatic!
“Trauma” is physical injury. Surgery, via the use of incisions and other manipulations of the body, can also be considered trauma. While this trauma is applied expertly and with the goal of providing an overall better outcome for the patient, it is still physical damage the body must need time to recover from.
In many cases, treatments such as custom orthotics or shockwave therapy can provide needed relief and even encourage healing without the need for any incisions. But life does not always run so smoothly, and sometimes conservative treatments won’t work, or the condition is severe enough that surgery becomes the only option.
So, when surgery is a consideration, we want there to be:
- A very good reason to pursue it, and
- A way to inflict as little trauma on the body as possible.
The great news is that, when needed, we have both!
The Benefits of Minimally Invasive Surgery
Technology has advanced by leaps and bounds over the past several decades, especially when it comes to surgical tools.
Where once a long incision would need to be made to view and access a surgical site, the same tasks can be completed with a much smaller impact. A few small incisions—only a few millimeters long—can be made instead, and a camera and tools inserted through them to perform the procedure. (You might also hear this by the name “arthroscopy.”)
Minimally invasive surgery is all about conducting necessary procedures with as little incisions needed as possible. The benefits of such an approach are multiple:
- The amount of total trauma on the body is decreased. This includes having smaller, less visible scars. The advantages are more than just cosmetic, however. It also means less of a potential long-term impact on the body, as fewer nerves, muscles, and other tissues are affected.
- Recovery times are shortened over more open types of surgery. Recovery time can be shortened by weeks compared to other procedures. If the surgery involves a hospital stay, that is often shortened as well, meaning you can go home sooner!
- The risks of infection are reduced. The more that inner tissues are exposed to the outside world, the greater the potential risk of infection. While surgeries are conducted in sterile environments to greatly reduce this risk in the first place, arthroscopy further reduces these risks.
- There is less pain. Patients who undergo minimally invasive surgery have reported less pain in studies compared to patients of previous surgical procedures. This translated into smaller doses of pain-relieving drugs, which is both more efficient and healthier for a patient.
Is Minimally Invasive Surgery Right for Me?
When it comes to surgery, minimally invasive procedures should be recommended whenever reasonably possible. Their benefits are clearly exemplary!
It should be noted, though, that a minimally invasive procedure may not be possible for every condition. It will depend on factors such as location, medical history, and the specific procedure that must be performed.
Also, as we mentioned earlier, we will not jump to surgery as an option unless it is absolutely necessary—not even minimally invasive forms!
There is a common misconception that surgery is the only route of treatment for certain conditions, such as bunions. This is not the case!
In many cases, the symptoms of bunions and other abnormalities may be managed conservatively with methods such as custom orthotics, physical therapy, and footwear changes. If we can find relief without surgery, and are not risking further damage or deterioration, you better believe we will recommend that route!
You are a vital voice in your own foot and ankle health, as well. When there are multiple routes of treatment, we will discuss all of them with you, allowing you to weight the pros and cons of each and ultimately walk away confident in the path forward.
If surgery is one of those options, we will make sure to fully inform you of all that is involved with a procedure. This includes considerations you should make before and after the surgery, as well. While some procedures are relatively “in and out” affairs, others require longer recovery times. We want you to spend that time as prepared and comfortable as possible!
If you have had persistent pain in your feet or ankles, no matter the cause, do not let a fear of potential surgery stop you from finding the comfort you deserve. Drs. Jan David Tepper, Cristina Elena Marchis-Crisan, and Edward Shibli Azar all understand your concerns.
Our Upland office is happy to serve you. Call us at (909) 920-0884 or fill out our online contact form to reach out to a member of our staff.