How to Choose the Right Orthopedic Surgeon

You’ve made up your mind and decided surgery is your best option for your condition. Picking the right surgeon is vital toward a smooth process and speedy recovery. Austin Orthopedic Institute wants to provide a few tips and questions to keep in mind through your decision process.

Ask Your Community

Friends, neighbors, and family can be an excellent resource for doctor recommendations. Many times, once you begin asking around, there are just a few surgeon names that are mentioned for a particular condition. Even in the modern era of Google reviews, patient recommendations tend to be very reliable.

Another source for surgeon recommendations is other healthcare providers. Primary care physicians, hospital nursing staff, and physical therapists can all be excellent information resources. These providers will know aspects of the surgeons’ care pathways and their results.


Do an Internet Search

There are reviews on everything on the internet – from tire stores, to spas, to orthopedic surgeons. Online reviews are good for your peace of mind and validation that your surgeon is qualified. However, keep in mind that online reviews are not edited, so you will likely see the “best of the best” and “worst of the worst .” Your surgeon will either walk on water or be a dud from moment to moment.

The majority of patients lie in the middle. Therefore, take online reviews with discretion.

Look for reviews of a patient that has been operated on multiple times by a surgeon. For example, a review from a patient that is early post-op from the surgery will be great or bad depending on their level of pain and dysfunction experienced in their recovery – regardless of their eventual result.

On the other hand, a review from a patient that has had multiple procedures is one where the patient has stood the test of time and continued to use the surgeon. This makes for more valuable insight for you.


The Interview

It’s now time to visit your potential surgeon to speak with them in person and form your final opinion. So, what questions should you ask? Consider these:

  1. How will the operation be performed?
  2. What are the risks, benefits, and potential complications?
  3. What can I expect before and after the procedure?
  4. When will I be able to resume my normal activities?
  5. Are you experienced with this operation? This is a vital question – you want to know if the surgery you are in need of is “routine” for the surgeon.
  6. Do you specialize in this surgery?
  7. If I have a complication, will you take care of it?  

The final question is the most important one, coming from a professional. This speaks directly to the surgeon’s experience with the operation, as well as their ability to care for all aspects of it. If things go well with your surgery, you will likely forget the surgeons’ name or declare they are the best – but you didn’t test the actual skill of the surgeon.

The true skill of a surgeon is tested best when a complication arises. Your surgeon needs to guide you through the complication efficiently, safely, and with as few setbacks as possible. If you like and trust the surgeon’s answer to that question, you will feel safer choosing them.

AOI physicians understand that you have a choice. We know that selecting the right orthopedic surgeon can be overwhelming. Please visit our Providers page to learn more about our team.

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