Each year, surgeons perform about 700,000 knee replacement surgeries in the United States. Knee replacement has become so common it’s now considered routine. Though it may be common, knee replacement surgery is still a serious medical procedure. If things go wrong, you could be left with a lifelong disability or serious health challenges. In the worst-case scenario, you could even lose your life. Knee replacement is also a costly procedure that can total more than $50,000 when the costs of the procedure, hospital stay, and rehabilitative care are all added up. Most people have health insurance that will pay at least some of the bill, but as the patient, you still have the responsibility to seek out the best medical care.
Finding the best surgeon for your knee surgery is not actually that much different from choosing any other type of professional service provider. You must determine the most important characteristics, and find a provider that most closely meets those criteria. Here are a few characteristics to consider when choosing a surgeon:
For most people, this is the most important attribute, and it probably should be. Be sure to ask your surgeon how many knee replacements he or she has performed in the last 12 to 24 months. What was the typical outcome?
Doctors are individuals with different personalities and styles of providing care. Whenever possible, choose a physician with whom you can get along.
Obviously, knee replacement is a surgical procedure. In most cases, there will be a hospital stay involved in your recovery. Make sure that your doctor has admitting and surgical privileges at a high-quality medical facility. Ideally, your insurance will also cover this facility.
Very few doctors work completely independently. They depend on staff to schedule appointments, bill insurance, and take care of other administrative tasks. Most of the time, the doctor’s staff is who you will be speaking and dealing with. Choose a physician with a competent office staff who makes you feel comfortable.
The American Board of Medical Specialties certifies physicians in a wide variety of specialties, including orthopaedic surgery. All board certified physicians meet stringent requirements of quality patient care and continued training. Board certification is not a guarantee that a physician will be right for you, but it is a good place to start.
Finding the best doctor for your knee replacement surgery is essential. You are the customer, and your health is on the line. You deserve to have the best care possible. Take as long you need to make the decision, and be certain that you are comfortable before scheduling any medical procedure. If you would like to learn more about knee surgery and finding the right surgeon, download our free e-book, 360 Degrees of Knee Replacement Surgery.