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?
- Tell 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