Why Surgery May Be Your Best Option

Despite what you may think, surgery isn’t always the first recommendation from an orthopedic surgeon for the treatment of an injury or medical condition.

At his Sugar Land, Texas practice, Steven E. Nolan, MD usually recommends conservative treatments first, such as rest, physical therapy, and medication. But in some cases, surgery may be your best option to help get you back to doing the things you love.

When conservative treatments have failed

If you’ve followed Dr. Nolan’s instructions to the T, taken your medications as prescribed, and attended all of your physical therapy sessions without an improvement in pain or mobility, surgery may be the next step.


The length of time it takes to determine when surgery is the best option after trying all other avenues depends on your injury and overall health. Dr. Nolan works with you and makes all the necessary recommendations and referrals to ensure you get the most effective treatment to help you get back to your normal lifestyle.

Some conditions require surgery right away

While most doctors treat injuries conservatively from the get-go, not all injuries heal on their own, making surgery your only effective option.


For example, if you have a complete tear of your anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), the ligament found in the center of your knee that keeps your shinbone in place, surgery is the only treatment that can restore mobility and function, especially if your ACL tear is accompanied by another injury, like a meniscus tear.


If you’ve suffered a complex bone fracture — for instance, your bone has pierced through your skin or has shattered in pieces — surgery may be necessary to properly align your bones and secure them with plates and screws to promote proper healing.


Surgery is also required to fix repetitive shoulder dislocation.

Delaying surgery may worsen your condition

Dr. Nolan may recommend surgery if he thinks your condition will worsen if it’s not addressed. Arthritis is a common degenerative condition that causes inflammation of your joints, and can affect any joint in your body, including the knee and shoulder joints. Arthritis tends to worsen with time, causing debilitating pain and a decrease in mobility. Joint replacement surgery may improve both pain and mobility, as well as your overall quality of life.

Diagnosing the cause of your symptoms

Sometimes diagnostic tests, such as an MRI or an X-ray, can’t pinpoint the exact cause of your pain or lack of mobility. Dr. Nolan may recommend arthroscopic surgery to identify the cause of your symptoms.


Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that allows Dr. Nolan to take a closer look at your knee or shoulder using an arthroscope, which is a small surgical camera that provides a detailed view of the inner workings of your joints and tissues, without requiring large incisions. While viewing the area, he may also be able to make repairs.

Preparing yourself for surgery

While you may have accepted the idea that surgery is a possibility, being told that it’s your best option can leave you feeling a little anxious. Asking questions is the best way to prepare yourself for the actual procedure. Knowing what’s going to happen and what to expect afterwards may ease some of your anxiety and usually results in better outcomes.


Dr. Nolan takes the time to walk you through your procedure and discuss all of your questions and concerns. Surgery isn’t always the first choice, but sometimes it’s the best one. For a consultation with Dr. Nolan, call his Sugar Land, Texas office or book an appointment online.

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