How to Choose the Right Doctor for Your Surgery

Choosing the right doctor to perform your surgery is one of the most important decisions you can make. Considerations to keep in mind include your surgeon's experience and skill, how you communicate with this doctor, how conveniently he or she is located, and how much you trust your surgeon.

Surgeons operating on a patient
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What You Should Consider Before Choosing a Surgeon

  1. Are you comfortable talking to your doctor? No matter how well qualified your doctor may be, you will not have a good experience if you cannot effectively communicate your concerns. And it's also important that he or she responds adequately. Some patients need more attention than others, and you might need a doctor who is willing and able to spend time discussing your concerns.
  2. Do they answer all of your questions? Do you feel like your doctor answers all your questions? Does he or she provide information in a way that you understand? Do you feel comfortable asking all of the questions you have? If you call your doctor's office, do they respond in a timely manner?
  3. Does your doctor perform this procedure regularly? Ask your doctor how often he or she performs the surgery you are having done. Most often you will not need to find someone who just performs your procedure, but you also don't want a surgeon who has never performed the procedure you are having. Look for a doctor who regularly performs your surgery.
  4. Is your doctor located in a place that is convenient for you? Some people will fly to have their surgery done by the "biggest name" in the field. Depending on the type and complexity of the procedure, an equally good option may be to have a qualified local doctor perform your surgery. Factors to consider include transportation time and costs, follow up—as well as accessibility if you encounter any problems after surgery.

Have you asked the hard/uncomfortable questions? Ask direct questions, rather than hoping not to offend your doctor. It is OK to ask these questions:

  • Do you feel comfortable performing this procedure?
  • What complications have you encountered?
  • Should I see a doctor that is more specialized?
  • Can I get another opinion?
  • Are you board certified?

A Word From Verywell

If your doctor is hesitant to have you get another opinion, they should be avoided. If a doctor is comfortable with their recommendation, he or she should not worry about you seeing another doctor to confirm that recommendation. However, you may not always need to seek another opinion if you feel comfortable that the doctor taking care of you meets your needs.

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