You need to see an orthopedic surgeon…
For many patients, those seven little words can elicit a wide range of emotions from fear and anxiety to relief and encouragement. You might be afraid that you’ll be told that you need surgery or that you won’t be able to return to a sport or exercise regimen any time soon.
The notion that you’re putting your well-being in the hands of a surgeon can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to do your research and make sure you choose the best orthopedic surgeon for your specific musculoskeletal injury.
More often than not, your primary care doctor will recommend a specific orthopedic surgeon for you to see, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are the right surgeon for you.
Selecting the right orthopedic surgeon for your needs can have a direct impact on your treatment, recovery and overall well-being. It’s important to choose an orthopedic surgeon who is not only highly trained and experienced in the specialty of your injury, but is also focused on improving the quality of life for not only his or her patients but their families as well.
So how do you choose the best orthopedic surgeon for your needs? There are several factors to keep in mind.
Start with Those Closest to You
One of the best ways to find an orthopedic surgeon is through referrals. Your family and friends are some of the most trusted people in your lives, so who better to ask for advice than them? Simply ask them if they would recommend their orthopedic surgeon and why? How was their overall experience? Were they able to return to normal activities quickly with as little pain as possible? If your family and friends have only positive things to say then you may want to take the time to further research the doctor’s credentials and experience on your own.
Do Your Research
So, you have your list of potential orthopedic surgeons. Where do you go from there? It’s time to learn a little about each surgeon. First, you want to see if he or she is board certified. Certification tells you whether or not they have the necessary training skills and experience to provide orthopedic care. By visiting their practice’s website, you should be able to learn a little more about the orthopedic surgeon. On the site, you should be able to find their areas of orthopedic specialty, education and medical credentials, as well as potential blogs or news articles highlighting their research, cases they’ve worked on or personal life experiences.
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential orthopedic surgeons, you should call to make a consultation appointment to meet and interview each orthopedic surgeon. Make a list of questions to take with you and ask the orthopedic surgeon to lay out their plan for you from diagnosis and treatment to rehabilitation and future follow-up appointments based on the problems you are having. You want to make sure the orthopedic surgeon knows your case and is focused on providing you with personalized care and a treatment plan that meets your specific individual needs.
I’m Talking to You
You’re going to be spending a great deal of time with your orthopedic surgeon as you navigate through diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. It’s important to choose an orthopedic surgeon that you’re comfortable talking to. Does he or she welcome your questions and answer them in a way that you can understand? Did the orthopedic surgeon show an interest in getting to know you? You want to be able to talk openly to your physician throughout the entire process.
Experience is Key
The more experienced an orthopedic surgeon has, the more likely you are to have positive results, especially when it comes to specialized medical or surgical care or complex cases. Is the physician sub-specialty trained? Are they recognized as a leader in orthopedic surgical procedures, sports medicine treatments and procedures and pain management treatment options? Knowing that your orthopedic surgeon has not only treated patients with your specific condition but has also performed the same procedure numerous times without complications can help eliminate potential anxiety.
Go with Your Instincts
Nobody knows your body and how you’re feeling more than you, so when it comes to choosing an orthopedic surgeon, you are your own best guide. Once you’ve had a consultation and are ready to move forward, make sure to ask yourself these questions. How did the orthopedic surgeon make you feel? Did he or she answer all of your questions and alleviate your concerns? Are you prepared for the procedure? Do you trust your orthopedic surgeon?
The key to a successful surgical experience is a good physician-patient relationship. You want to make sure your needs and expectations are met throughout the entire experience. By following these tips, you should be able to find the best orthopedic surgeon for your needs.
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