The value of a strong doctor-patient relationship cannot be overstated. Choosing the right orthopedic surgeon is one of the most important decisions you can make about your overall health. When orthopedic issues arise, as they often do over time, it is best to begin a relationship with an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in treating the origin of pain, or who is with a practice that supports multiple orthopedic specialists.

Even if you don’t need a surgeon right away, most doctors typically exhaust all non-operative options until the quality of life can only be improved with a surgical approach. Homework is needed in order to find the best orthopedic specialist for your situation.

Is your Doctor in your Health Insurance Network?

Unless you are paying cash for your surgery, it is most cost-effective to build a relationship with a doctor that is in your insurance network. If you want to get the most out of the health insurance you have, know that insurance companies negotiate better rates with doctors and healthcare providers within a patient’s network. If you have found an orthopedic surgeon that you really like outside your network, but have decided to use anyway, realize that you will be paying more out of pocket.

Research Credentials and Reviews for Orthopedic Surgeons and Orthopedic Practices

Researching a practice or orthopedic surgeon’s credentials should be an integral part of any patient’s due diligence. Look at their overall ratings on Google, but also read some of the individual reviews — the good and the bad. If there is something of concern, bring it up during your consultation with the doctor. Keep in mind that doctors are extremely limited by HIPAA-rules as to what they can and cannot say when replying to reviews.

Take outlier reviews as just that, an exception not a rule, and look at the overall picture painted by the average rating. Keep in mind no doctor, or the practice that supports them, is perfect. Ideally, it is best to set up an in-person consultation before making your final decision.

Additionally, take the time to research the credentials of the doctors you are evaluating and ensure they are board certified. Check resources such as the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgeons for extensive information about orthopedic procedures and to verify your surgeon has been certified.

Doctor-Patient Communication

Being an advocate for your own healthcare puts the responsibility to communicate on both you and your orthopedic surgeon. If an explanation or treatment option isn’t clear, it is up to you to ask for clarification. A good orthopedic specialist will make you feel comfortable enough to bring up specific problems that they may not have asked about and provides feedback on how a particular treatment could change your daily life.

Top Questions to Ask An Orthopedic Surgeon

Here are few good questions to ask during a consultation with an orthopedic specialist:

  • How will this procedure or treatment help my condition and for how long?
  • Are there alternatives to this surgical procedure?
  • What complications do you encounter with this procedure and how often do they happen?
  • How do you follow up with patients after surgery?
  • What will my care after surgery include?
  • How long does it take for patients to recover from this procedure?

Whatever your orthopedic pain or injury, it is worthwhile to spend time finding a doctor you can trust. Ask for referrals from your primary care physician, other healthcare providers, family and friends. Make a consultative appointment with all orthopedic surgeons you are considering to develop a comfort level with them and discuss the surgery and their experience.

To make an appointment at Southern Oregon Orthopedics today, call our office at the location most convenient to you or schedule your visit online.