Choosing to undergo orthopedic surgery could be daunting — and so is choosing an orthopedic surgeon. It can be overwhelming to find the right orthopedic surgeon, especially since surgery is a big decision and has a huge impact on your health. So, how can you find an orthopedic surgeon if you don’t know where to start?
You’ll find the right orthopedic surgeon for your needs by researching properly and asking the right questions. Before you drown in a sea of websites, here are some tips for finding an orthopedic surgeon to help you reclaim your orthopedic health.
You can obtain recommendations from many different sources. Some good, trustworthy sources for referrals include:
- Your primary care physician
- Close friends
- Family members
- Social media connections
- Other healthcare professionals
- Clinical staff members
Try asking as many people as you can for their opinions. Referrals are valuable because they come from people that you trust. You might find names that pop up a lot, making the surgeons more credible.
Determine The Surgeon’s Specialty
Orthopedics is already a specialty, but some orthopedic surgeons are further specialized. Some of the most common subspecialties are:
- Sports medicine
- Hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder
- Joint replacement
- Knee and hip
- Pediatric orthopedics
If needed, find an orthopedic surgeon specializing in the area you need help with. It provides additional experience and expertise related to your specific orthopedic issue. Not all orthopedic issues require a surgeon with a subspecialty, but more complex issues can benefit greatly from specialized care.
Check Their Credentials
Research about a surgeon’s educational background. A quick Internet search should tell you the surgeon’s specialty, education, certifications, awards, and other medical credentials. Check their board certification and fellowship training. Accreditation information is usually available on their website. If not, don’t hesitate to ask for it.
Surgeons must have a bachelor’s degree and medical degree followed by an internship, residency, and fellowship. You can also turn to medical websites to read patient reviews and learn about any malpractice suits or sanctions that a surgeon might have faced.
Consider Their Location
If you prefer an orthopedic surgeon close to you, you’ll need to consider their location and if it is accessible. A conveniently located clinic will save you so much time and money — and you’ll be less likely to miss appointments if it’s not a hassle getting there.
Schedule A Consultation
Once you have shortlisted your potential orthopedic surgeons, you should consult with each to assess their manners and communication style. Even with the most thorough research, it may still leave you with some lingering questions.
It’s best to prepare your questions beforehand, so you do not forget them. Here are some questions you might want to ask:
- What procedures would you recommend for my specific injury or condition?
- How often do you perform orthopedic surgery? Which specific procedures do you perform?
- What’s your complication rate?
- What other options are available to me?
- How do you follow up with patients post-surgery?
- Who will be on my medical team?
During the appointment, remain straightforward. Don’t be shy about asking questions. It’s vital to find an orthopedic surgeon you are comfortable talking to. An experienced surgeon will expect a broad range of questions and answer each one articulately.
Check For Red Flags
No matter where you are in the process of getting surgery, it’s never too late to change to a different surgeon if you’re uncomfortable for any reason at all. You may want to look for another surgeon if your current surgeon:
- Refuses to discuss other treatment options with you
- Makes you feel uncomfortable asking questions
- Doesn’t explain procedures and processes clearly
- Rejects or rebuffs your thoughts, opinions, and goals
- Isn’t aligned with your goals
- Doesn’t respect your decision-making process
It’s perfectly fine to follow your gut when picking a surgeon. Credentials and experience are surely important but feeling comfortable with your surgeon is also essential.
Check Your Insurance Coverage
Be sure to find out beforehand if your insurance will cover the surgical costs and if the surgeon is on your insurer’s provider list. Some plans also require a referral from your primary care doctor if you want to see a specialist. You can find out about all this by calling your insurance company directly.
Orthopedic Surgeon In Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Your medical care is in your own hands. You always have the power to take your healthcare in a different direction. While time might be of the essence, it’s important to make an informed choice based on transparent communication and full disclosure. You deserve nothing less.
If you’re looking for a trusted orthopedic surgeon, look no further than Paul Meli Orthopedic Surgery. Dr. Paul Meli, our board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon, can give you the best comprehensive and compassionate care you deserve.