Be sure to ask your shoulder and elbow doctor this checklist of questions to get the most out of any clinic visit. They will help you have a productive and focused encounter whatever your problem may be.
How many of these procedures do you perform?
Not all doctors are the same. So when you see a specialist, you should ask how many similar procedures your surgeon has performed. It’s also important to know how rare a particular procedure is. Knee replacements are performed much more commonly in the general population than shoulder replacements. Therefore it may be harder to find a surgeon that performs a large number of rare procedures such as this. [/ls_toggle]
What are the risks involved?
While most treatments may be routine to the physician, as a patient you have the right to know what could possibly go wrong and how often problems do arise. The risks for any given treatment are often unique to the treatment itself. Ask about them and understand what will be done to reduce those risks and deal with them should a problem arise. [/ls_toggle]
What are my options?
Often a patient may not think to ask what OTHER forms of treatment are available besides what they’ve been prescribed. While it is good to trust your doctor’s advice, it is always best to discuss all available options. There is sometimes more than one good treatment option for any given condition. [/ls_toggle]
What can I do after surgery?
If you have specific tasks you want to be able to accomplish after surgery, you should talk to your doctor about them. Your activity level will vary depending on what procedure you have done and your own unique circumstances. [/ls_toggle]
Could the condition return?
Talk to your doctor about what is causing your particular condition and the likelihood of it reoccurring in the future with various treatments. [/ls_toggle]
Will I do physical therapy?
This really depends on your particular problem.
Many muscle bone and joint problems can be traced to an imbalance in strength, or an increase in stiffness in a particular joint or extremity. And physical therapy is often a first line treatment for this. In many ways the body acts like a very complex machine. Therapy is a way of reconditioning the body to heal itself by restoring normal body mechanics. Therapy can sometimes be a good first line treatment and help you avoid surgery altogether.
Most patients who have an orthopedic procedure need some form of physical therapy. There are many reasons for this:
- to prevent scar tissue
- to strengthen muscles
- to increase overall conditioning
- to assist you in performing normal activities.
Whether you do therapy and how much therapy you do will ultimately will depend on circumstances unique to you and your problem.