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Now’s the Time for Elective Surgery

All you want for Christmas is a brand new knee? Or that carpal tunnel surgery you’ve been putting off?

The clock is ticking on your yearly health care deductible and flexible spending account (FSA). While some people maximize these resources well before year-end, others find themselves reaching for ways to spend their remaining FSA dollars

Remember, FSA dollars are subject to the IRS “use it or lose it” rule – which means any money remaining is forfeited by you and won’t carry over to the next year. Some plans extend the qualifying expense deadline into March, so check your dates.

Other people may want  to take advantage of a deductible that’s been met for the year. The popularity of high-deductible plans in recent years has increased the practice of scheduling elective procedures at the end of the year, adding to the seasonality of elective procedures. 

It’s smart not to leave those health care dollars on the table. If you’ve met your deductible, or have remaining FSA funds, end-of-year is an ideal time to schedule an elective orthopedic surgery such as a joint replacement.


CHI St. Alexius Health orthopedic surgeon Greg Rennirt, MD, reminds patients that they don’t have to suffer with pain, or stop doing the things they love. “I don’t like it when people who are in their 50s and 60s say ‘I need to slow down.’ You need to stay active for your whole life. There’s no reason to give up anything,” he said.


An orthopedic surgery can be life-changing, but it’s always an individual decision. “Joint replacement, for example, is a quality of life decision,” said Gregory A. Brown, MD, PhD

CHI St. Alexius Health orthopedic surgeon. 


“X-rays need to show you have end-stage arthritis, but then it’s a matter of quality of life – whether you want to play with your grandkids or you want to be able to work without pain. When your quality of life is diminished, it’s time to consider surgery,” Dr. Brown said. 


The holidays, when many people have some time off, can be an ideal time to recover. Cherise Norby, APRN, FNP,  CHI St. Alexius Health orthopedic nurse practitioner, stays in contact with patients throughout their recovery. “If patients have questions they can call and I know what their recovery should be like and I have that knowledge,” she said. 


Feeling better, and being more active, is rewarding – all year long. If you’ve delayed elective surgery, now may be the time for you. Start with your health plan for a full list of qualifying procedures, then contact your provider and get yourself scheduled for that long-awaited surgery, right here in Williston.