Did You Know: Eighty Percent of Shoulder Problems Do Not Require Surgery!

by | Sep 12, 2015 |

In the last several years I have diversified my practice and have started to take care of a greater number of people who have shoulder problems. I have had literally hundreds of patients come to me with surgical recommendations. I have treated most of these people conservatively back to great shoulder health without surgery.

Often I am scratching my head trying to figure out why surgery was recommended in the first place because these people have minor problems that most of the time could get better with a cortisone shot, physical therapy, and activity modification. In fact over the years I have kept a log of these patients who were strongly recommended for surgery who were very intrigued to hear there were conservative measures that could work. With the list several hundred patients and growing; simple conservative remedies have gotten them completely better. No surgery had to be entertained and no surgeries were performed.

I can only remember the teachings of Dr. Hubert Pearlman my mentor and the chairman of my orthopaedic surgery residency. He was a guru of all things orthopaedic in Brooklyn, NY. In fact he was the doctor that brought joint replacements to Brooklyn, NY. He always lectured us that sleazy, shady, unnecessary selling is something that fits in very well with owning a used car lot. If that’s what you want to do when you grow up, it’s your right to do it, but then you should work or own a used car lot. He always told us as physicians and surgeons to do the right thing. We did take a Hippocratic Oath to attempt never to do harm, to always be on the right side of medical treatment, to do your best. Even in spite of your best, sometimes bad things happen to people. And at least if you tried to do your best you can feel good about your treatment. He warned us that even in a busy practice there could be weeks or months where our offices could be near empty and we would be wondering if we would ever get a new patient again. With a reputation for doing the right thing, trying your hardest and best for patients, patients will continue to come.

To err is human. But, I have always tried to live by those words of wisdom from my old chairman, may he rest in peace, and those words have never failed me. Do the right thing, do only the treatments that are necessary. There will always be enough people with real medical problems that you don’t have to make them up and do unnecessary things. Treat each patient the same way you would treat a family member. These are words to live by and I try my best.

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