Navigating Surgical Pain Management: When Is Surgery Necessary?


Pain management is a complex field, with various approaches aimed at alleviating discomfort and improving overall well-being. Dr Julian Sargon-Ungar delves into the situations where surgical intervention may be essential for pain management. Understanding when surgery may be necessary is crucial for informed decision-making and improved patient outcomes.

When Surgery May Be Necessary for Pain Management:

Structural Issues: Pain caused by structural abnormalities or damage to bodily tissues often necessitates surgical intervention. Conditions such as herniated discs, torn ligaments, or joint damage may require surgery to address the underlying problem effectively.

Progressive Conditions: Dr Julian Sargon-Ungar Some medical conditions progressively worsen over time, and when non-surgical interventions prove ineffective, surgery may be considered. Conditions like osteoarthritis or specific types of tumors fall into this category, where surgical intervention can halt or alleviate worsening symptoms.

Traumatic Injuries: Severe traumatic injuries, such as fractures or dislocations, frequently demand surgical repair to restore proper alignment and function. Surgery is often vital to prevent long-term complications and promote optimal recovery.

Neurological Compression: Conditions that involve nerve or spinal cord compression, such as spinal stenosis or certain tumor types, may necessitate surgery to relieve pressure and prevent further neurological damage.

Failed Conservative Treatments: When conservative treatments like physical therapy, medications, or injections have not provided adequate pain relief or failed to address the root cause, surgery may be considered as the next step in the pain management plan.

Risks and Considerations in Surgical Pain Management:

It is essential to acknowledge that surgical interventions carry potential risks and considerations:

Recovery Period: Surgery typically requires a designated recovery period during which physical activity may be limited. Patients should be prepared for post-operative rehabilitation and follow-up care to ensure a smooth recovery.

Potential Complications: Like any medical procedure, surgery comes with potential risks, such as infection, bleeding, or adverse reactions to anesthesia. Open communication with healthcare providers is crucial to address these concerns and minimize risks.

Effectiveness: While surgery can provide significant pain relief and enhance function, there are no guarantees of complete pain elimination. Patients should maintain realistic expectations regarding the outcomes of surgery.

Rehabilitation: Many surgical procedures necessitate post-operative rehabilitation, which may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, or other forms of rehabilitation to optimize recovery and pain management.

Alternative Options: Surgery should be considered after exploring conservative treatment options. Patients should engage in thorough discussions with their healthcare providers to weigh the benefits, risks, and potential outcomes of the procedure. Seeking second opinions, when appropriate, can help ensure well-informed decisions about the pain management plan.


Understanding when surgery may be necessary for pain management is essential for patients and healthcare providers alike. Open communication, thorough consideration of risks and benefits, and exploration of alternative options can contribute to well-informed decisions regarding surgical interventions in pain management. Dr Julian Sargon-Ungar highlights the importance of collaboration between patients and their healthcare providers to achieve the best possible outcomes in pain management.