"But my concern is that it not be misinterpreted as discounting the surgical option," he added, "because each of the choices is valid, depending on patient need. And this study clearly shows that there is no one answer for every patient," with each having to carefully weigh faster surgical recovery times versus the lower-risk/less-invasive nonsurgical approach, Barber explained.
"So I would say that for low-demand patients who are not required to get back to work quickly, nonsurgical treatment is a good way to go," Barber said. "But for others, surgery is a legitimate and well-thought-of option. And this study helps me lead the kind of decision-making process that's needed when considering these two choices."
As far as cost comparisons between surgical and nonsurgical treatment, Barber said costs vary so much from hospital to hospital that it's impossible to say which would be more for any given patient.
For more about Achilles tendon injury, visit the health information site at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
SOURCES: Mark Glazebrook, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor, surgery, division of orthopedics, Dalhousie University Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Center, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada; James Barber, M.D., orthopedic surgeon, Coffee Regional Medical Center, Douglas, Ga.; Dec. 5, 2012, Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery
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