Choosing the Right Orthopedic Surgeon – Questions to Ask

What should you ask when searching for the right orthopaedic surgeon for you?

While you may not have the ability to choose your orthopedic surgeon after a traumatic event like a car crash or fall, most of us will experience a few injuries during our lives that require consulting with an orthopedic surgeon sooner or later. In these cases, choosing the right surgeon for the job is important for the outcome after surgery. For some, the choice may be limited by insurance coverage and geographic location, but when we do have a choice, here are five important considerations to find the right specialist:

  1. Do your research online and offline. You may have referrals from your primary care physician or other medical specialists. You may also hear of a good experience from a friend or family member. All this information should be taken alongside your own research, which can often be started online. It can be helpful to see what other patients have experienced by checking reviews online.
  2. Check credentials and experience. A surgeon highly experienced in the procedure you intend to undergo offers a higher chance of a good outcome. Some injuries are complex and need a surgeon that can navigate these challenges deftly. Credentials are also important. Surgeons that train other surgeons, those with a great deal of experience under their belts and those with a particular interest in the area being treated are often a good bet.
  3. The size of the practice makes a difference. It is important to remember that the relationship with the orthopedic surgeon does not typically end at surgery. As such, part of your decision revolves around the size of the practice. With the consolidation in the medical industry, it is important to think carefully about what level of attention and customize support you want or need.
  4. The facility at which you will have the procedure will play a part. Look for a hospital system but that is known for their patient care and outcomes. Here again, you may want to consider the difference between an independent hospital and one under the control of a conglomerate, or larger health system.
  5. Last, but not least, trust your gut. Feel free to schedule a consultation and evaluate the practice for yourself. If something doesn’t feel right, or you don’t quite mesh, don’t be afraid to continue your research elsewhere.

The decision to undergo surgery Is not an easy one and choosing the “right surgeon” can be daunting. Trust your intuition, do your research, and meet the practice. Your effort to proactively take control of your care will most often pay off with a better surgical experience.