1. Look for experience and knowledge.
If you have a surgical problem, thus it is critical that you confirm that your surgeon has years of expertise dealing with the type of problem you have and has the necessary training, skills, and certifications to do the requisite surgery. Find out how long your doctor has been in practice and conducting surgery, and how frequently he does the procedure you require. Find out where your doctor received his or her training as well as the extent of that training, particularly extra specialized training in a specific area of specialization. Finally, ensure that your doctor is not only board-certified but also board certified in the specialization of interest. Most subspecialties have their own organizations and societies, and membership requires peer evaluation and peer recommendations. Check to see whether your doctor is a member of any specialty groups.
2. Select a doctor who is affiliated with the appropriate hospitals.
At a hospital or outpatient surgery center, your surgeon collaborates with a team of healthcare experts. It is critical that the facility is a well-known center of excellence with a stellar local and/or national reputation for providing great care. Examine the facility’s caseload for procedures comparable to the one you require. This ensures that not only are highly qualified team members know about your problems and needs but that they are also employing the most up-to-date top-tier equipment available to optimize your results.
3. Determine who will perform your operation.
That sounds simple enough, but simply signing up with a “big name” doctor in your area does not guarantee that the complete surgical operation will be conducted by that doctor. Many academic institutions allow residents or fellows to do much of the surgery under the supervision of the attending surgeon. Alternatively, many surgeons have high volumes and may be working in two or three operating rooms at the same time, delegating much of the surgical labor to their assistants or junior colleagues. This does not necessarily detract from the end result, but it is critical to understand who will be performing what when it comes to your individual operation.
4. Ensure simple access to your surgeon and his colleagues.
Whether it’s last-minute questions or worries before your surgery or unforeseen complications that arise afterward, you want to know that you can always reach out to your doctor. Do you have to go through numerous computerized prompts on the phone just to speak to someone, and then run the gauntlet again just to talk to the doctor, or does his staff answer the phone immediately and forward your concerns and questions to the doctor for prompt callbacks? If getting access is tough before the surgery, you can bet it won’t be any simpler afterward, when you may have an even greater sense of urgency. In addition to phone talks, many doctors communicate by email. This can be a significant benefit for many patients who prefer this kind of communication.
5. Understand who is performing your anesthetic.
You’ve verified with your doctor, but on the day of surgery, you’ll undoubtedly want to know who will be administering anesthesia. Find out about their experience and skills, particularly in relation to the sort of surgery you are undergoing. Many orthopedic procedures can be augmented with long-acting regional anesthetic blocks, which can reduce your discomfort and the requirement for post-operative narcotic medication.
6. Clearly communicate your objectives and expectations.
When it comes to orthopedic concerns, individual patients have varied reasons for pursuing a specific operation, as well as a diverse set of expectations. It could be as precise as wishing to return to a specific sporting activity at an elite level of competition or as general as simply wanting to be free of the everyday anguish of a certain condition. It is critical to communicate this to your doctor since it will influence how he makes decisions both before and after your surgery. You should be confident that the doctor you choose gets to know you and that he can provide you with the results you need.