Question: When should I consider joint surgery to treat pain resulting for osteoarthritis?
Answer: The decision regarding when to proceed with surgery is often a complex one. It involves a conversation between the orthopedic surgeon and the patient. And there's certainly difference from one patient to another. In general, one should consider surgical intervention when non-surgical methods are no longer effective. And those largely relate to the use of anti-inflammatory medications, Tylenol, activity modifications -- meaning trying to do a little bit less then maybe you did before -- physical therapy and weight reduction are all important non-operative options.
When those are no longer effective and you're quality of life has been affected to a degree that's significant and results in a amount of impairment that allows the patient to consider surgical intervention when the pain and dysfunction reach unacceptable levels one should consider surgical intervention.
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