The process of finding an orthopedic surgeon can be difficult, especially if you have a hip, knee, or shoulder problem or other musculoskeletal issues. The difficulty may be increased if you reside in a remote area without a major medical center.
It may take some time to find the right orthopedic surgeon, but knowing you've chosen the best possible doctor for your surgery can give you more confidence and lead to better results.
Use these steps from Atlanta Bone and Joint Specialists to help you choose an orthopedic surgeon that is right for you:
Step #1: Make a List of All the Qualified Candidates in Your Area
You'll want to start this process by collecting a list of all the orthopedic surgeons that are located near you. This may mean getting a referral from your primary care physician or asking a friend or family member for a recommendation.
The referral process shouldn't stop there! For example, your primary care doctor may have a friend or family member that is an orthopedic surgeon. Who knows, maybe he or she can even perform the operation you need.
You can also find a list of local doctors in the telephone directory or on their website. If your doctor is on vacation or out of town, you might be able to find a temporary replacement there as well.
Step #2: Check Their Availability and Their Fees
Next, you'll want to check the doctor's availability and their fees. You'll need to find out when the doctor has availability, which may be more difficult than it seems.
You may find that the doctor only has time to see you after 3:00 pm on Wednesday afternoons or that they have a 2-year waiting list.
If your doctor doesn't have any availability, don't assume that means they are bad and should be tossed out. The last thing you want to do is to dismiss a specialist because they are simply too busy.
But you do need to make sure they have reasonable availability and fees. If they don't have any availability or if the fees are too high, you'll want to try to find another doctor.
Step #3: Check Their Credentials
Now that you have a list of doctors and have checked their availability, you'll want to check their credentials.
When you call and ask for their credentials or look at their website, you'll want to see what certifications and education they have completed. In most cases, you'll need to make sure that they have completed at least four years of medical school and have completed an orthopedic residency program.
While it is important that they have completed these programs, you should also make sure that they treat a variety of orthopedic problems. They may have completed a program that only treats knees, which isn't a good match for your shoulder.
Step #4: Interview Potential Orthopedic Surgeons
Interviewing an orthopedic surgeon will help you get a better idea of whether or not they are a good match for you.
During your first appointment, the surgeon will likely take some x-rays of your problem area and discuss the results with you.
They'll let you know what options you have for solving your problem, including surgery and non-surgical treatment.
You'll also want to make sure that you discuss what to expect before, during and after the surgery. Make sure you ask about anesthesia, recovery, and pain management.
Step #5: Meet with Several Potential Surgeons for a Second Opinion
After you've interviewed one surgeon and you feel like they are a potential possibility, you'll want to interview two or three more potential surgeons.
This is an excellent way to find out how each surgeon works, their anesthesiologist, their recovery process, and what their payment process is like.
Choosing the right orthopedic surgeon can be challenging, but it is worth the effort. This can be the difference between a successful operation and a painful experience.
Just because you're not in a city filled with bone and joint specialists doesn't mean that you need to settle for a doctor that isn't the best for you. The process of finding the right orthopedic surgeon can take some time, but if you follow these steps, you'll be well on your way to choosing the best doctor for you.
Atlanta Bone and Joint Specialists can help you if you are looking for the best orthopedic surgeon in Atlanta. We have been performing hip replacement surgeries for more than 50 years so we are confident that we can help you. Contact us today to set up an appointment so we can know more about your case.