Choosing an orthopedic surgeon can stir up a variety of emotions. On one hand, you might be optimistic about resolving ongoing joint or back pain issues. On the other hand, it might cause some anxiety. In most cases, your primary care physician will recommend that you make an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon or specialist. When picking the one that’s best for you, there are many things to keep in mind. Here are some of the most important factors to consider when deciding on an orthopedic surgeon or specialist.
Get A Referral
Your first port of call along your journey should be consulting with your primary care physician or doctor. Ask them for a list of orthopedic specialists in the area that they recommend, and if there are any in particular they think would be a good fit for you. It’s also worth asking your family and friends about, especially if they’ve had issues that required the consultation of an orthopedic specialist in the past.
Once you’ve narrowed your list a bit, pull up your web browser and conduct a search. You can try typing in their name directly, or just enter the type of specialist you need and your area. For instance, if you live in Richmond, VA, you could type in “hip replacement specialist richmond” or “orthopedic surgeon richmond va” to get a list of specialists in your area. Once you’ve located a couple specialists near you, it’s time to dig a little deeper.
Review Their Credentials
When choosing an orthopedic surgeon, you’ll want to ensure they have all the proper training, experience, and skills to properly diagnosis and treat your condition. Make sure the specialist you’re researching is board certified. Next you’ll want to make sure they don’t have any kinds of malpractice in their history. You can also typically find out things like which schools they went to, which hospitals they trained in, and other certifications they’ve received by visiting the specialists’ website, or by looking at their scores on websites like RateMDs or HealthGrades.
Consider Their Experience Level
Complex orthopedic problems require specialized medical care, and surgery in some cases. This is why you’ll want to select an experienced doctor to work with. Look for surgeons that specialize in certain types of care or treatments, and ask questions about how many patients they’ve treated in the past. If you need a specific surgery or procedure, make sure to ask how many times the doctor has performed that specific procedure, and if there are any complications that might arise.
Check Out Patient Reviews
It’s always helpful to read about other’s experiences with a doctor. It can provide valuable insight into how the doctor conducts themselves, as well as their medical practice in general. You can find reviews on many places across the web, but a good place to start is Google Reviews. Check out other sites like Yelp, as well as websites that are specific to the medical industry like RateMDs and HealthGrades. It’s also worth reviewing the testimonials they have on their own website. You can learn a lot about people’s experience and general satisfaction levels this way.
Make Sure They’re In-Network
Last in the list, but certainly not least, you should really only be looking for surgeons and specialists that are covered by your insurance provider. You’ll want to ensure that you are receiving the most benefits as you can, so your out of pocket expenses are minimized. References, experience, and credentials are all important, but working with an orthopedic surgeon that’s covered by your insurance plan will save you a lot of money, so make sure you’re covered before setting up a consultation!