Real Answers from Real Pilots

Introduction / Question

Hello everyone,

My name is Sade Osuji and I am from New Jersey. I graduated from Rutgers University in May 2016, first generation graduate, and I am currently a substitute teacher and a UN representative for a non-profit organization. I am excited to enroll in ATP. I’ve been creeping on this forum for some time now and I have learned A LOT! I was in an accident in May 2017 and have been attending physical therapy and the chiropractor. My neck and back are getting so much better, however, I may need surgery on my shoulder. I know we have to take a medical examine, but my shoulder is not in need of the surgery right away, however, it will definitely help future pain in the future. My question is, has anyone had surgery before the FAA medical examine and still get the go ahead?

I would be the first generation pilot too. So these means a lot to me. I just want to make sure this shoulder surgery will be a definite no.

Thank you!

Sade,

Welcome to the forums :slight_smile:

I have had three surgeries on my ankle, all of them while I was an airline pilot. In fact, I am just now returning from work from my most recent round in which I had donor tendons installed in my ankle and had four months off work. Surprisingly, the FAA really doesn’t seem too concerned about this type of thing. They care that your surgery is successful and that you are able to freely use your shoulder “without restrictions”.

Of course as we always say here, I would consult an FAA doctor before and after the surgery just to make sure, but the bottom line is that if you are in pain, you need to get that resolved.

Chris

Thank you Chris!

And wow! That’s a lot of surgeries. I hope everything healed well and your back and better than ever!

And I will definitely check with an FAA doctor before I go into surgery. I didn’t even know I could do that. Again, thank you.

Sade,

To be clear, it will cost you some money to get an opinion from an FAA doctor, but I feel it is worth it. I would strongly suspect that he or she will tell you to get the surgery. The FAA doesn’t want you to be in pain, either. They really don’t seem to take too much of an interest in orthopedic work, as long as everything is fully functional.

Again though, I am not a doctor and am in no way qualified to dispense medical advice. You can find a FAA Medical Examiner near you on the FAA’s website.

Chris

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Sade,

I concur with everything Chris has said. While I’ve never had surgery I know many of pilots who have and have returned to work with no issue. My only concern (and the only time this sort of thing becomes and issue) is you mention “future pain”. You need to know most pain meds are banned by the FAA so you need to be certain that doesn’t enter into the long time management plan. Again your best resource is finding a good AME in your area and Jersey has plenty.

Adam

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