Category: Spine Surgery, Surgeons | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: December 8, 2015
When you’re in the market for a new car, you do plenty of research before your sign your name on the dotted line. You visit a few dealerships, talk to the bank, research brands and prices online and speak with your friends and family about their experiences before sitting down and making an informed decision. So why don’t we do this with our bodies and our health? Oftentimes people simply choose a doctor based on location or how the clinic fits into their health insurance plan. Those are factors to consider, but there’s a lot more to choosing a great doctor. In this article, we offer 5 tips for helping you find the perfect spine surgeon.
1. Read the Reviews
The internet allows us to do so much research on a doctor and a facility from the comfort of our home, and one thing you should always look at are the reviews. Oftentimes doctors will put patient reviews on their website, and while those are great, remember that they can be controlled by the website owner, so it’s unlikely that any bad reviews they get will make it on the site. Instead, check out the doctor’s Healthgrades or Vitals profiles. Real people will be leaving their honest reviews, and this is a great place to gauge how others feel about the care they received.
2. Social Profiles
While you’re reading reviews, stick around and check out other aspects of the doctor’s social presence. Particularly, see how quickly they respond to reader questions or concerns, and see how they handle criticism. Look for a doctor that helps to try and correct and issue, rather than shift blame. Also, if they are responding quickly to questions and comments, they are probably pretty organized. Organization and timeliness are two traits you want to see in and out of the operating room.
Read up on the doctor’s credentials. Generally these are listed on the web, and they can help you find a good fit. All doctors will list their license and previous work experience, but see if you can find information on their specialties. Your spine and neck are intricate areas of your body, so some back specialists only treat certain conditions. If you know your specific issue, look for a doctor that has a background treating that condition.
4. Ask Around
While this is great for a general practitioner, it’s not always the best strategy for picking out a back surgeon. That said, it shouldn’t be skipped entirely. Ask your friends and family if they have had any positive or negative experiences with certain doctors or surgical centers. Only ask for information from people who have undergone a similar back operation, otherwise the advice isn’t very relevant. You wouldn’t go to a Subaru dealership to learn about Dodge trucks, so don’t ask for back surgeon advice from someone who had ankle ligament surgery. But, if you find a friend or colleague who has undergone a similar back operation, listen to their advice.
5. Meet the Doctor
Lastly, before you buy the car, you’ll probably hop in for a test drive. Same goes for a back surgeon. Schedule a consultation, and bring a list of questions. What are your surgical and non-surgical options? What do they recommend? What’s the success rate? How often have they performed the same procedure? Listen to the doctor’s answers, but also keep tabs on other social clues, like their demeanor, their ability to put you at ease and their ability to explain their answers clearly. Don’t let them pressure you into anything before leaving the clinic. Trust your instincts, and if it feels like a good fit, and your previous research checks out, you might have just found your new back specialist!