6 Tips for Choosing an Orthopedic Surgeon
Many patients, like Connie Droste of Portland, Michigan, decide to get a second opinion before undergoing major surgery. It’s important to feel confident in — and comfortable with —your orthopedic surgeon. Here are some tips to help you in your selection:
- Start with your primary care physician and ask for a referral.
- Ask family and friends if they can recommend an orthopedic surgeon. Arthritis and joint-replacement surgeries are common today — you’re sure to know someone with first-hand experience.
- Check out your surgeon’s background online. The American Medical Association and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons have online databases for consumer access.
- Ask questions. You have a right to ask your orthopedic surgeon about credentials and experience, and your surgeon should be willing to answer all your questions. For starters, here are some commonly asked questions:
Get a second opinion to make sure you understand what you’re being told and to ensure that you and your surgeon are on the same page.
Don’t settle. If a surgeon makes you uncomfortable, it may just be that you’re not suited for each other. In that case, you should keep looking for the right fit.
- Are you board certified?
- Approximately how many of these surgeries are done each year at Sparrow?
- What is your experience with this type of surgery? How many have you performed?
- What risks might be involved that I need to consider? How likely are those risks?
- Is there written material or videotapes about this?
- Will I be anesthetized? How? What are the risks?
- What type of implant will be used? How durable is it? What else do I need to know about it?
- How long will I need to stay in the hospital?
- How long is the recovery process?
- Will I experience a lot of pain? If so, what kind of pain relief will be available to me?
- Will I need physical therapy? For how long?
- Are there any restrictions on everyday activities, such as driving, bathing, using stairs or having sex?
- How long will I need to be off work?
- How often must I return for follow-up appointments?
- What are the signs of trouble or complication that I should look for post-surgery?
- How much improvement should I expect following surgery?