Things You Need To Know About Seeing An Orthopaedic Surgeon

Jan 8, 2020

How were you injured? 

How you were injured can be very important in diagnosing exactly what is wrong. The mechanism of injury, the velocity of injury or impact has a big bearing on what structures might be injured and therefore management and recovery. For example, the way a knee twists or collapses can result in injuries to different tissues or ligaments. A high-velocity injury can result in a bone contusion or fracture. Much of your consultation will be spent going over the history and mechanism of the injury which will aid a correct diagnosis.

Describe your pain.

Pain is one of the most common symptoms of musculoskeletal injury or damage. Pain is also very complex and subjective. Describing the nature of your pain and the intensity can be very helpful in guiding your doctor in diagnosis and treatment. The location of your pain is also very important information.

When to see a specialist?

Some injuries require you to see a specialist such as ligament tears or fractures. Your Orthopaedic surgeon can also help when the pain and stiffness from arthritis are affecting your mobility and quality of life.

Can I ask questions?

Coming to see your specialist armed with questions is always good. Write down what you’d like to ask. Your doctor will be happy to assist you.

What should you wear to your consult?

Wear appropriate clothes so Dr Smith can examine the injured area. In the case of a knee or hip loose pants or shorts is a good option and will alleviate the need to wear the ever-popular paper gown.

How fast is my recovery?

Having a reasonable expectation for your recovery is important. Ask questions about expected recovery times, length of time off work and recreation but remember everyone is different and recover at different rates. Pre and post-operative preparation and physiotherapy can make a big difference to outcomes. Be guided by your surgeon and physio, they will work with you to achieve your goals.

“Friendly Advice”

There will often be someone you know who has had the same or similar treatment you are about to undertake. Regardless of their result, your outcome may differ.  Whilst the surgery may be the same the injury is unique as is the recovery.

Second Opinions…

Sometimes the decision to proceed to surgery or other treatments might not be so clear cut. It is important to ask questions and gather the information you need to weigh up the pros and cons of different treatment options. Any medical treatment has potential complications, as does not treat a particular injury or condition. Ensure you are confident and that you understand the potential risks of treatment or declining a treatment so that you can make the best decision for you. Sometimes this might involve you seeing another surgeon for a second opinion. Dr Smith will always support you in seeking second opinions if you feel this will help with your information and decision-making process.