As we age, the risk of developing an orthopedic problem increases – especially if you lead an active, physically demanding lifestyle or engage in sports or exercise. Accordingly, you may find yourself in need of the services of an orthopedist. Choosing an orthopedic surgeon can be a daunting task. It is important to research your options carefully and to ask questions before you make a decision.
Your primary care doctor can be a great resource in helping you find a qualified orthopedist who is right for your needs. Additionally, you should consider the surgeon’s experience, training, and credentials.
Ask to see the orthopedist’s board certification and make sure they have a valid medical license. You should also consider the type of medical services provided, such as whether the surgeon specializes in a particular area or is able to provide a full range of treatments for your condition.
When looking choose an orthopedic surgeon, be sure to inquire about the hospital or facility where the surgery will take place as well. Also, find out what type of anesthesia will be used. It is also important to discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure with the surgeon before making a decision.
Finally, make sure you feel comfortable with the surgeon and that you feel that he or she understands your needs. To ensure that you receive the highest quality care for an orthopedic issue, you should choose an orthopedic surgeon who best meets your criteria. Here is a handy guide to choosing the best orthopedist to meet your needs.
8 Steps to Choosing An Orthopedic Surgeon
Choosing an orthopedic surgeon you are confident in is important for your joint replacement or other injury repair. Make sure to request referrals from your primary care doctor and review the credentials of the orthopedic surgeon you are considering before making a decision. Patient reviews can also be helpful in finding a qualified orthopedic surgeon. Below we have outlined 7 steps you should follow when trying to find the best orthopedic surgeon.
1. Request referrals
Start by asking your primary care doctor or healthcare provider for a referral list of orthopedists. You might also want to ask family and friends who have undergone orthopedic treatment for their recommendations. Next, research each doctor’s credentials and experience on a website like Healthgrades.com. Once you’ve narrowed down your list of candidates, call to schedule a consultation appointment to meet and interview each surgeon.
2. Focus On The Orthopedic Surgeon’s Credentials
One of the most important factors in selecting the right an orthopedic surgeon is whether they are board-certified through the American Board of Orthopedic Surgeons, or the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. It indicates that the doctor has the required training, skills, and experience to provide quality orthopedic care. Also, check whether the orthopedist has a history of malpractice claims or any disciplinary action. When selecting the right orthopedic surgeon, you’ll find most of this information – including the medical school where the surgeon received an education – on state websites or Healthgrades.com.
3. Consider The Surgeon’s Experience
If yours is a complex orthopedic problem, seeking care from a more experienced physician is likely to result in a better surgical outcome. Find out approximately how many patients with your condition the surgeon has treated and how many years of experience they have. If you need a specific procedure – how many times the doctor has performed it. Also, ask about complication rates and how the surgeon plans to reduce the risk. It is also worth considering their specialty. Do they specialize in sports medicine? Is your orthopedic specialist an expert in knee surgery, hip replacement, or other types of joint replacement? All these are relevant questions to you as a patient.
4. Make Sure You Are Comfortable Interacting With Your Surgeon
Aside from the technical expertise and experience, it is crucial to have a good rapport with your orthopedic surgeon. After all, you will be entrusting them with your health and well-being. Take note of how the surgeon interacts with you during the initial consultation. Do they listen attentively to your concerns and address them in a respectful manner? Are they open to answering your questions and providing clear explanations?
Communication is key when it comes to healthcare, so it’s important that you feel comfortable discussing sensitive information with your surgeon. A compassionate and attentive surgeon who listens attentively to your concerns and addresses them in a respectful manner can make a significant difference in your overall experience. They should be open to answering your questions, no matter how trivial they may seem, and provide clear explanations that help.
5. Evaluate The Surgeon’s Communication Style
Ask yourself, do they welcome questions? Do they patiently offer answers in a way you can understand? Do you feel comfortable talking with the doctor? When choosing an orthopedic surgeon, one who shows a genuine interest in your needs, will consider your treatment preferences and respects your decision-making process.
6. Research the Quality Of The Surgeon’s Practice and Affiliated Hospital
Top-rated hospitals have fewer complications and better survival rates. Your surgery will be performed at the hospital to which your chosen doctor is affiliated. So, be sure to consider the location and quality of care at the medical center, as well as the doctor’s own office, as you may need frequent follow-up visits after your procedure.
7. Peruse patient reviews
Read what others have to say about their experience with the prospective doctor. More often that not, better reviews can mean better outcomes and patient satisfaction. Learn how well patients trust the doctor and details such as the ease of scheduling appointments, wait times, office environment, as well as how much time the doctor spends with patients, and how thoroughly they answer questions.
8. Trust Your Instincts
Once you’ve done your research, asked your friends and your doctor, and met your orthopedic surgeon and staff, it’s time to make your decision. If you’ve taken these steps, you’re in a great place to make an educated and informed choice. Now you need to trust yourself—and the surgeon you have chosen. Remember that the relationship you have with your orthopedic surgeon is one of trust. If you have concerns or questions, ask the doctor that you have so carefully chosen. If someone else suggests something or voices a concern about your treatment, again, ask the expert that you have chosen. The best orthopedic surgeons are physicians that have spent years specializing in treating the problem that you have. Trust that you have found the one perfect for you.
If you are looking for the perfect orthopedic surgeon, our friendly team is here to answer all of your questions. To seek the expert advice of Dr. Brett Gilbert in Raleigh, Durham, Cary and Apex, who will address your unique concerns, contact us today by calling us at (919) 788-8797 or you can request an appointment with Dr. Gilbert using our appointment request form, or you can self-schedule your appointment here.