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Choosing an Orthopedic Surgeon

Posted by Dreu Adams on Jan 2, 2014 11:09:00 AM

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Considerations in choosing an othopedic surgeon for your joint replacement surgury.Like making any major decision, taking the time to research your options is important when choosing an orthopedic surgeon to perform your joint replacement. If you are planning your surgery in advance, you have more time to prepare and make decisions. But for many people, the need for an orthopedic surgeon comes without warning following an accident or fall. Regardless of circumstance, it is worthwhile to find the doctor who best suits your personal preferences and who has a successful track record in performing the procedure you need.

Connecting With Your Orthopedic Surgeon

Here are some steps you can take to find potential surgeons to perform your joint replacement:

  1. Reach out to your primary care physician or the physician who suggested your surgery. Ask for recommendations from these trusted professionals as to which surgeon they would choose if they needed your procedure.
  1. Ask friends who have had joint surgeries about their experiences with the doctor they selected. This is one of the best sources of trusted and reliable information that you can find.
  1. Check the websites of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery or The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. These are two major organizations that many of the top orthopedic surgeons belong to and both have Doctor Finder tools based on your zip code and the specialty you require. These sites also give you information on any disciplinary action taken against their members. This could be important information.
  1. Your insurance agency may also provide you with an approved list of orthopedic surgeons.
  1. Research each doctor’s credentials in order to learn about their academic experience, place of residency and areas of expertise so you can narrow down your options.

4 Considerations When Interviewing Candidates

  1. Specialties

Some orthopedic surgeons are very specialized and have practices that are targeted or limited in scope. For example, a surgeon specializing in sports-related injuries or a surgeon specializing in a specific body part, like a hand surgeon, may be most appropriate for your specific situation.

  • What kind of specialty fits your needs?
  1. Personal Preferences

We all have preferences when it comes to people, personalities and doctors. Male or female, young or old, assertive or nurturing, each doctor is unique.

  • Do you feel comfortable trusting this person with your care?
  1. Experience

Consider the experience each surgeon has with the joint replacement surgery you require.

  • How many has he or she done?
  • Have past surgeries been successful in the long run? What are possible complications?
  1. Home Care

Since in-home recovery may follow your surgery, be sure to discuss anticipated discharge and follow-up procedures and care during the selection of your orthopedic surgeon.

  • How long does it typically take to recover from your procedure and meet your post-surgery goals?
  • What type of rehabilitation will this orthopedic surgeon prescribe?
  • What challenges might you face during rehab?
  • What is the surgeon’s policy if you have questions during off hours?
  • What role will a home care agency play in your recovery? Does the surgeon you are considering work with the home care agency you are planning to use?

Moving Forward

Taking charge of your health and being your own advocate are key to finding the right surgeon to perform your procedure. In doing so, you’ll increase your confidence in your doctor because you have selected someone you trust and know has the expertise you need. Once you’ve made your selection, commit to following your doctor’s instructions and take the time to prioritize your health. Hand in hand with finding the right surgeon is choosing the best home care team to guide you as you recover from surgery at home, including creating a safer home environment to help you become more independent and reduce your risk of falling. With the best surgeon and the right home care team, you’ll be sure to enjoy a successful outcome, one of the benefits that accompanies making an informed decision!

Have more questions about Joint Replacement? Download this helpful guide!

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Topics: Joint Replacement