Private Orthopaedic Surgery
Seven things you need to consider before making a decision to pursue private surgery.
#1 Despite abnormal x-rays and MRIs, every year there is growing evidence demonstrating that surgery is not required for many soft tissue injuries. If your injury is to a soft-tissue (e.g. tendon, disc, ligament), you should not expect to be offered surgery unless you have exhausted all non-surgical treatment options under the supervision of an experienced orthopaedic physiotherapist.
#2 Only after a surgeon examines you face-to-face, can they determine if you would benefit from surgery and that you meet the medical criteria to proceed safely to surgery. Just because an out-of-province surgeon reviews your medical file in his office in another city, does not mean that you will be offered surgery when you meet them.
#3 Even though surgeons are highly trained and skilled, even the smallest surgery can result in complications and leave patients worse than they were before surgery (i.e. infections, permanent stiffness, chronic pain, etc).
#4 Just because you have surgery performed out-of-province, does not eliminate the risk of complications. Complications can occur in any hospital in the world.
#5 Your surgeon is obligated to inform you of the risks of surgery and other treatment options before you decide to proceed. You will be asked to sign documents confirming that you were educated by your surgeon of other treatment options, risks of surgery and that you accept the risks of surgery. This is a universal practice among all surgeons .
#6 While surgery is often performed in hours, post-operative physiotherapy takes months to restore joint mobility, muscle strength and function. Surgery is not the finish line, physiotherapy is. Depending on the surgical procedure, you may be asked to perform rehab exercises daily potentially for months after surgery
#7 The best person to manage your post-operative care is the surgeon who performed your surgery – not your family physician or a surgeon in another city. If you undergo out-of-province surgery and experience a complication, you can expect that you will be asked to follow up with the surgeon who performed the surgery and possibly travel to see them for a follow-up visit.
Terry Kane, Registered Physiotherapist (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)
Founder / Owner, OrthopaedicsCanada.com Network