Ask about the credentials of the healthcare provider or surgeon and if they have additional certifications or experience performing the procedure. Make sure that the healthcare provider or surgeon is affiliated with an accredited health center. Ask if you really need this surgery. According to Makary, approximately 1 in 5 seconds is different from the initial treatment recommendation.
You can search for specialists online by searching for hospitals that offer the surgery you need. But you should also ask other patients, your primary care doctor, or other specialists for personal recommendations. You have a problem that requires surgery, so it's imperative that you verify that your surgeon has years of experience treating the type of problem you have and that he has the appropriate training, qualifications, and certifications to perform the required surgery. Find out how many years your doctor has been practicing and performing surgery and find out how often he performs the procedure you need.
Find out where your doctor trained and the scope of training, especially additional subspecialty training in a particular area of expertise. Finally, it's important to know that your doctor is not only board certified, but also board certified in the subspecialty area of interest. Most subspecialties also have their own organizations and societies that require peer review and peer recommendations to become members. Check if your doctor is a member of the appropriate subspecialty organizations.
That means taking care of your health, learning everything you can about the procedure, and getting to know the people who will be treating you. Knowing if a doctor has been sanctioned by a professional licensing board should be an essential part of your search. At many academic institutions, residents or fellows, under the supervision of the treating surgeon, can perform much of the surgery. Do you have to follow several electronic prompts on the phone just to talk to someone and then have to take on the challenge just to talk to the doctor, or do your staff answer the phone promptly and relay your concerns and questions to the doctor so that he can return the call quickly? Finding a board-certified cosmetic surgeon who has a lot of experience with the procedure of your choice is critical to getting the results you want.
This problem is more serious in the area of cosmetic surgery, since many doctors with training in general surgery or other types of medical training jump on the bandwagon of cosmetic surgery in search of greater profits. It's important to tell your doctor, as it will influence how you make decisions before and during surgery. Ask your doctor for names and numbers; most will provide them, but only from patients who have agreed to give referrals based on a good result. According to Brownlee, these types of conflicts of interest can influence your doctor using a certain type of surgical device, even if it's not right for you.
When my patients come to me, a primary care doctor, and ask me for advice on choosing a surgeon, I usually start by asking them a few questions.