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Do you know how to choose a surgeon?

You've come to find that you need surgery to correct a medical condition, but have concerns about moving forward at this time. While it's natural to have various concerns and questions, those associated with choosing a surgeon are extremely common.

While there is no right or wrong way to choose a surgeon, there are steps you can take to improve the likelihood of making the right decision. And when you do, you'll feel better about the process leading up to your procedure, the surgery itself and your future care.

Here are some things you can do when attempting to choose a surgeon:

  • Discuss it with your primary care physician: Lean on this doctor to provide guidance, such as by referring you to several surgeons in your area. You don't have to follow one of their suggestions, but it's a good starting point.
  • Confirm credentials: For example, you can contact the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) to confirm that your surgeon is licensed.
  • Check ratings and reviews: The internet is a powerful tool for learning more about any surgeon you're considering. If you come across one positive review after the next, you can be confident that a surgeon has a good track record with their patients. Conversely, if you read horror stories from past patients, you'll want to dig around to better understand what went wrong.

Interview then decide

Choosing a surgeon is not something you do on a whim. It's a critical decision in your life, as your health is at stake. Interviewing prospective surgeons can help you better understand what they offer, as well as the type of experience and knowledge they have of your illness or injury. Ask questions such as:

  • How many years experience do you have dealing with this type of medical problem?
  • What surgical options are available?
  • Are there other treatment methods you would suggest?

By interviewing three to five surgeons, you'll gain a clear understanding of where each one stands and what they can do for you.

Even if you take all these steps and feel good about the surgeon you've chosen, something could go wrong with your procedure. While this doesn't necessarily mean you're a victim of medical malpractice, you should learn more about your legal rights and how to protect them.

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