Choosing an orthopedic surgeon to perform your procedure can be a deeply personal experience for you and your family, no matter how small or large the case is. Any time you undergo surgery there are inherent risks associated with restoring structure and function to a part of your musculoskeletal system.
Naturally, you’ll want a surgeon that is both qualified and experienced, but you also want a care provider that you trust and feel comfortable with. Here are a few factors to consider to help you choose the best orthopedic surgeon for you:
Firstly, consider this surgeon’s capabilities. If they are licensed to practice medicine, there is no question that they have met the necessary legal and academic requirements. However, there are many sub-specialties within the field of orthopedics. Some surgeons will be more experienced in techniques and procedures for a particular part of the body. While orthopedic physicians are trained to treat a variety of conditions, one surgeon may have greater success treating knee pain over someone who specializes in hand surgery.
You’ll also want to consider the hospital or outpatient surgical center where your procedure will be performed. If it is a teaching hospital, there is a high chance that a resident or fellow will be scrubbing in to assist. Depending on the resident’s year, they may hold a clamp or perform the majority of the operation. While this can be unnerving to think about, the attending physician is always present for direct supervision.
This part of medicine is a requirement for young physician’s to grow through hands-on education. However, if it is an absolute deal breaker for you then that is certainly a conversation to have with the physician prior to the day of surgery.
Don’t be afraid to ask about your physician’s success rate, both overall and for the particular procedure you are planning to undergo. As a patient, you have the right to know what your chances of success look like.
To choose the best orthopedic surgeon for you, it is important to have a comprehensive understanding of his or her treatment approach from pre-op to post-op. While nearly all surgeons have a fundamental understanding of contraindications following a procedure, some may be more liberal than others when it comes to their rehabilitation protocol. Understanding what your goals are, whether for life or athletic endeavors, is important going into this conversation.
Finally, the most important aspect of choosing a surgeon (assuming they have the right specialty) is how their values align with your own. As this is such a deeply personal experience, you want to make sure that they will be treating you as a person and not just an injury.
If after conversing with a surgeon you do not feel comfortable with them, no matter their capabilities, this is not a factor to be overlooked. In the modern age of medicine, far too often we see surgeons who have lost the touch of personal medicine. As a patient, we all desire to be understood and valued. If a physician does not display this capability and it is something that you value deeply, then this may be an indication that it is time to look elsewhere.
About South Shore Orthopedics
South Shore Orthopedics is a multi-subspecialty regional orthopedic practice that includes nine board-certified surgeons, as well as a team of associates that are committed to helping people lead active lives.
While we always opt for conservative care techniques whenever possible, sometimes surgery is necessary to restore both function and quality of life. To find out whether one of our orthopedic surgeons is the best for your needs, call (781) 337-5555 to schedule a consultation.