How to choose an orthopedic surgeon

Posted on Mar 14, 2018, by

When planning any type of orthopedic surgery, from joint replacement to ACL repair, one of the very first decisions is to select the right orthopedic surgeon for you. In addition to the recommendation of your primary doctor, it can be helpful to do research yourself. After all, knowledge is power. Once you’ve talked with your doctor and checked insurance coverage, use these tips to find the right orthopedic surgeon for you.

Learn more about the professional and compassionate surgeons at The Kennedy Center.

What to consider when researching orthopedic surgeons

Check, and double check, credentials. From knee to shoulder surgery and everything in between, a surgeon’s state credentials and surgical certification should be up-to-date. To ensure the surgeon is licensed in your state, visit the Federation of State Medical Boards. You can also check whether a doctor has their surgical certification by visiting the American Board of Medical Specialties.

Find referrals. Talk to friends and family to find recommendations. Whether it was a good or bad experience, they are likely to honestly share their opinions. They can also provide specific details about the orthopedic surgeons that aren’t listed on websites or brochures, such as how long it takes them to return phone calls and how helpful the nurses were. Also, don’t forget about the power of social media! Not only is that a great place to ask friends for their recommendations, but you can also find referrals on the surgeon’s social media pages.

Ask lots of questions. During your initial visit with an orthopedic surgeon, come prepared with questions to ask. The right questions could help you determine whether or not the doctor is a good fit for your procedure. Consider asking any or all of these questions to help with your decision:

  1. Do you specialize in any particular type of surgery?
  2. How often do you perform this type of surgery?
  3. If you’re unavailable to perform my surgery, who will cover for you?
  4. Who should I call if I have problems after hours?
  5. What are are typical complications with this surgery or procedure?
  6. How long is the wait for appointments?

Talk to more than one doctor. Getting a second opinion is always a good idea. After talking to a couple of surgeons, it may be much easier to decide which surgeon can provide the best treatment for you. If you’re unsure about a suggested treatment plan, it is especially important to get another opinion.

Don’t forget the little things. The specifics of the orthopedic surgeon and the office can play a big role in your final decision. Details to think about include the office hours, was the staff nice and considerate, the tidiness of the office, and even how long you waited to see the doctor. All of these small details can have a big impact on your experience.

Let the research begin!

Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to find your doctor! Remember these tips while working to find the right orthopedic surgeon. When it’s time for your procedure, you’ll be happy you took the time for research.

To get started, learn more about the highly-trained orthopedic surgeons we have at The Kennedy Center. Give us a call today!

5 Responses to How to choose an orthopedic surgeon

  • Ashley Turns says:

    I appreciate your suggestion to ask your friends and family for a good recommendation on an orthopedic surgeon since they’ll be able to tell you specific details that won’t be found elsewhere. My husband is having issues with his knee, so we are wondering how to find the best doctor to perform a procedure on it. We’ll definitely have to start our search for an orthopedic surgeon by first talking to some of our family and friends.

    • The Kennedy Center says:

      Thanks for the message, Ashley! We’re so happy to hear you found the information useful. Good luck on your hunt for the right surgeon.

  • Thanks for the tip about asking an orthopedic surgeon if they specialize in any type of surgery. It would be good to consider this because it would show that they are qualified. My husband needs orthopedic surgery, so he’ll have to consider their specialization first.

  • Jean Schultz says:

    Your suggestions are all very important. I am in the process of getting a second opinion about my torn rotator cuff options. I want to make sure I am making the best decision about my shoulder and my future!

    • The Kennedy Center says:

      We’re so happy to hear you appreciated these tips! We hope you find the right solution for your rotator cuff. 🙂

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