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Choosing the Right Orthopaedic Surgeon

Jun 26, 2014

Whether you’re in need of arthroscopy for your knee, a total hip replacement or a shoulder procedure, ensuring you choose the right orthopaedic surgeon for the job is the first step in both a successful operation and a rapid return to your regular lifestyle. But how do you know which surgeon is right for you? Today we’ve got a few simple tips to help you evaluate potential surgeons to yield the best possible outcome from your procedure.

Ask Around

It really is that simple – if you wanted to find a good housekeeper or lawn maintenance crew, you’d ask your neighbors. And while arthroscopic surgery isn’t exactly on par with lawn mowing, recommendations from friends and family can go a long way toward helping you narrow the field of potential candidates.

In addition to recommendations from family, friends, or neighbors, you should obviously get professional recommendations from your doctor(s) and any sports or physical therapy professionals you might be seeing. Doing a quick cross-reference of the recommendations you’ve received from these two different groups of people should give you a strong starting point for your onward inquiries.

Check the Web

For some, the most powerful research tool around is the web – being able to use a number of healthcare-related sites to check reviews and other statistical data about particular providers is a huge asset. But sometimes, you have to step back and remember that one bad experience doesn’t make a bad surgeon – injuries, procedures, and results can vary from case to case. So take online reviews with a pinch of salt.

Look at Your Insurance Options

The next point of due diligence on your road to choosing the right orthopaedic surgeon should be checking with your insurance company. First, there are obvious financial benefits to choosing in-network providers for most policies – but in some cases, your insurer may offer competitive rates for out-of-network care, so it’s always worth asking. Also in the realm of insurance, check your provider’s website for cost and service comparisons between surgeons in your area, sometimes the most accurate information is found here.

Do Real Research

Each of the above steps will help you establish a field of “candidates” for the job of orthopaedic surgeon in your world. When you’ve got a shortlist of surgeons you are considering working with, look into their backgrounds. Consider where they studied, what prior experience they have in the field, and most importantly, whether or not they are board certified. Board certification is a good indicator of whether the surgeon works to keep their skills fresh, and in general surgeons who are board certified would be preferred to those without board certification.

Meet the Doctors

Interviewing doctors is a real thing – if you’re lucky enough to have options in your area and within your coverage, take the opportunity to meet some of them! It’s worth your time – and theirs – to sit down and discuss what the procedure is, how things will go, their success rates, estimated recovery time, and even whether they like the same baseball team you do! The essence of this is simple: the more comfortable you are with the professional you choose to do your orthopaedic  surgery, the easier the entire process will be on your mind.