Are you considering a shoulder, knee or hip replacement? It’s important to find an orthopedic surgeon who has expertise in your particular type of joint replacement, and who communicates well with you. Here are five tips to help you choose an orthopedic specialist.
1. Ask your primary care doctor for a list of recommended orthopedic surgeons.
Your primary doctor usually knows you well, and can refer you to orthopedic specialists who fit your personality. Good communication matters when considering any major surgery.
2. Look for an orthopedic surgeon who does a lot of your type of joint replacement.
Look for a surgeon who has a lot of experience in your type of surgery. For example, if you’re having an anterior hip replacement, pick a surgeon who does that newer surgery often.
3. Make sure the surgeon is board certified in orthopedic surgery.
Go to certificationmatters.org or call (866) ASK-ABMS to see if the surgeons on your list are board certified. “Board certified” means the orthopedic specialist has completed extensive training and passed a stringent exam.
4. Meet several orthopedic surgeons to find the one you’re most comfortable with.
Every person’s communication style is a bit different. You want a surgeon who you believe listens to you and hears your concerns. While you’re there, ask about the surgeon’s patient satisfaction ratings.
5. Check out the hospital your surgeon uses.
Hospital quality is just as important as your surgeon. Top-rated hospitals have fewer complications. Go to medicare.gov/hospitalcompare to look up the hospital’s general rating for safety and complications.