5 Things to Consider When Choosing an Orthopaedic Surgeon

Your family doctor may refer you to an orthopaedic surgeon, but it’s ok to seek out a surgeon that is right for you. Here are a few things to consider.

October 5, 2020 | 7 min read

If you’re experiencing joint pain, your family doctor may refer you to an orthopaedic surgeon. But what happens when that surgeon doesn’t meet your needs? Don’t be afraid to advocate for your care. If you are looking for an orthopaedic surgeon, here are a few things to consider. 

1. Location

You’ll want to determine how far you’re willing to travel to see the doctor. Do you want to find a qualified orthopaedic surgeon near you? Or would you rather go to a larger city? There are many ways to locate orthopaedic surgeons, such as the websites for the Australian Orthopaedic Association and New Zealand Orthopaedic Association. 

2. Seek referrals

Friends, family, and even acquaintances can be gold mines for finding information on doctors. Other places you can find surgeon referral information are social media, online patient reviews, your family doctor, your local hospital, and a simple internet search. 

3. Insurance coverage

Whether or not your insurance will cover your procedure can be a huge factor in whether or not you end up having surgery. Your insurance provider can also advise which surgeons are in-network and which are not. 

4. Surgeon credentials

There are several specialties within the field of orthopaedics, including sports medicine, joint replacement, extremities, and so forth. Make sure to select a surgeon practicing in the specialty you need. It’s also a good idea to verify their specific schooling, training, years in practice, cases per year, and experience with difficult cases. The Australian Orthopaedic Association and New Zealand Orthopaedic Association can be useful resources.

5. Bedside manner

It can be difficult to determine a surgeon’s bedside manner without actually meeting them. So it may be a good idea to set up a consultation. Sometimes you can get a feel for this on a surgeon’s website. Make sure you are comfortable with the surgeon you select.

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