How to Choose the Right Orthopedic Surgeon for You

Orthopedics is a specialty focusing on the care of patients with musculoskeletal problems including congenital deformities, trauma, infections, tumors, metabolic disturbances of the musculoskeletal system, deformities, injuries and degenerative diseases of the spine, hands, feet, knees, hips, shoulders, and elbows in children and adults. In other words, orthopedic surgeons are in the important business of bones. When you need this kind of doctor, how do you know who to choose?

Start by asking yourself some questions:

  • What outcome are you hoping for? Do you want relief from pain in everyday activities or the ability to perform vigorous sports activities?
  • What does your health plan cover? Are there any restrictions in your choice of physician or facility where surgery is performed?
  • Are there specific techniques or types of procedures you want to know more about?
  • How close to home do you want to be for surgery and the rehabilitation after surgery?
  • Do you like and trust this doctor?
  • Do you feel good about this doctor’s expertise?
  • Do you and this doctor communicate well?

Consider asking a prospective surgeon questions including:

  • What procedures do you recommend for my case? Why?
  • How many times have you performed this procedure in the past year?
  • What is your complication rate?
  • How do you follow a patient post-surgery?
  • thTell me about your medical team – nurses, physical therapists, and others who can help guide me pre and post-surgery.

Although all orthopedic surgeons are qualified to perform a wide range of procedures, different doctors will have specific areas of expertise, special training, and unique practice philosophies. Some may practice new approaches you’ve heard about in the news; others may stick with traditional time-proven procedures.

If you are experiencing a joint or spine problem, contact Dr. Wes Johnson for a consultation. He will answer all of your questions and help you determine what option is best for you.

Read more on this topic online at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002069.htm

5 thoughts on “How to Choose the Right Orthopedic Surgeon for You”

  1. I liked that you mentioned choosing your orthopedic surgeon based on the outcome that you’re hoping for. You also mention taking into consideration what your insurance can cover. I think it’s important to choose an orthopedic surgeon that has fantastic bedside manners to ensure you that you are in good hands.

  2. It’s interesting how you mention that you should ask a prospective orthopedic surgeon how many times they have performed the procedure you need. I was told I might need surgery on my foot and I should find an orthopedic surgeon to do the job. I definitely want someone who has lots of experience and specializes in the area I need, so I’ll be sure to take your advice and ask these questions. Thanks!

  3. I recently tore my ACL and am in need of an orthopedic surgeon. I noticed that you said some doctors may practice new approaches, while others may stick with traditional time-proven procedures. Is there a recommendation for which is better? I want to make sure I will heal in the best way possible.

  4. Thank you so much for all this helpful information about how to choose an orthopedic surgeon. It’s interesting that you should see how they follow a patient post-surgery. I know that I would want to make sure that I will get the help that I need afterwards.

  5. That’s interesting that all orthopedic surgeons are qualified to perform a wide range of procedures, but there’s certain ones who are specialized in particular areas. I’ve heard that for a surgeon to become specialized in a particular area, he or she has to pass rigorous exams and certifications. I’ll have to take these things in to consideration as I seek out an orthopedic surgeon for my mother!

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