Are you facing a long recovery from a recent injury or illness? One thing that your doctor may have proposed was surgery to help heal your body and recover fully. In some cases, surgery is the immediate and only option. In other cases, however, a non-surgical remedy is recommended. Several factors go into deciding whether or not you should have surgery or try an alternative approach. Here are a few examples of when you should seek the advice of a surgeon before deciding to take a less invasive route.

Sports Injury

As an athlete, suffering from an injury while training can be abrupt and painful. Your first response is likely to wonder how quickly you will recover. Choosing an orthopedic surgeon or a non-surgery route is ultimately up to you, but you need to weigh both the pros and cons of both. This starts by having a consultation with a surgeon. During this consultation make sure you ask questions. What are the risks involved in the surgery and what will the recovery entail? A sports injury can range from bruising to a severe break. The next step in deciding about orthopedic surgery will be to undergo an examination from your doctor. From there, she will likely recommend an x-ray or CT scan of the area. If there is a break, you’ll be referred to an orthopedic surgeon to go over plans for a possible surgical procedure. After surgery, you will have intense physical therapy to help strengthen the affected area. With recent advances in medicine, testing for problems like concussions related to the sports injury is also very beneficial.

Cancer Diagnosis

Have you been diagnosed with cancer? Certain types of cancer may involve having specialized surgery to remove tumors. Colon cancer, for example, often requires surgery, especially if the tumor has grown to a larger size in or around the colon or rectum. A specialized surgeon, like a colorectal surgeon, has the training and expertise to perform a precision surgery that will remove the tumor and as much as the surrounding tissue as necessary. Preparing for this type of surgery requires a consultation with an interdisciplinary team to go over your entire treatment plan. In some cases, a colostomy or ileostomy may be performed. This is where a stoma will be created for you to aid in the release of stool. This could be permanent or temporary. From there, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation treatment may be part of your long-term care.

Chronic Pain 

Dealing with chronic pain on a daily basis can be debilitating to your physical and mental well being. If you have pain caused by an underlying injury or illness, the first thing is to address these issues. Find out what the best treatment plan will be. Many people turn to prescription medications or abuse recreational drugs to deal with excruciating pain.This rarely resolves the problem and can lead to more complex lifestyle issues and medical problems that need intensive treatment. Avoid this route by talking to your doctor about non-surgical ways to help stop the pain. For example, if you have chronic back pain, your doctor may recommend a medical procedure or surgery to help decompress your spine and alleviate pressure on the surrounding nerves. Additional procedures like cortisone or lidocaine injections are another way to alleviate pain without a complex surgery or medical procedure.

Weight Loss 

Do you suffer from obesity? Over 160 million people in the U.S. are obese or overweight. Obesity can lead to a myriad of health problems and increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes. When it gets so severe that you’re having trouble breathing or are unable to function in your daily life, it’s time to seek out help. The first place to start is with the advice and care of your doctor. He or she will recommend a treatment plan for safe weight loss. If diets and exercise happen to fail you, another option is weight loss surgery. There are a few different surgical approaches. Gastric band and gastric bypass are two common options. Your doctor will refer you to a bariatric surgeon if you choose one of these options.

No matter what medical condition takes you to a surgeon, make an informed decision about what the next step should be with your health care.