Finding the right surgeon

Getting a hip replacement can be a life-changing solution to ongoing pain. Choosing the right surgeon is one of the most important decisions you can make. Selecting an experienced, skillful surgeon increases the likelihood of a successful operation and recovery. Consider these steps for finding the right doctor.

Research your surgeon’s credentials and training

In addition to medical licensing in the state, it is important to find a doctor who has had fellowship training in hip replacement and has learned to perform the surgery under the guidance of a highly experienced orthopedic surgeon. Look for fellowships that say hip replacement, hip surgery, total joint reconstruction or orthopedic adult reconstruction in their names.

Consider your surgeon’s experience

Hip joint replacement is one of the most common and successful orthopedic surgeries available. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it a routine one for every orthopedic surgeon.

Time and again, researchers have found that a higher volume of surgeries means better outcomes. While different studies use different cut-off points, one research study suggests that more than 50 surgeries yearly is associated with lower complication rates..

The reason you want a high-volume orthopedic surgeon is simple: practice makes perfect. With high volume, the surgeon is skilled and comfortable performing a procedure due to their familiarity with it and frequency performing it.

Write a list of questions for your consultation

At your consultation, the surgeon is likely to ask you a list of questions about your hip pain and why you’re considering surgery. You can also use this appointment as an opportunity to ask your potential surgeon a list of questions about why you should choose them. Some of these questions might include:

  • How many times have you performed this specific procedure?

    Hip replacement surgeries are not one-size-fits-all. Your surgeon might recommend performing the surgery through the front, side or back of the hip. In some cases, the surgeon may be experienced in minimally invasive joint replacements, which use fewer incisions, tiny cameras and small surgical instruments. Look for a doctor who has significant experience in the specific procedure that’s right for you.

  • What are your complication rates?

    All surgery comes with some risk; however, you want to choose a surgeon with low complication rates. Don’t be afraid to ask about potential long-term complications or how many patients have had post-surgical infections. Your surgeon should also be able to answer how many patients had to have a second surgery and explain why. If possible, your surgeon may connect you with former patients who can share their experiences.

  • What is the hospital’s success record?

    When you opt for a hip replacement, you’re not only choosing a surgeon, you’re also choosing a hospital. Research has shown that the more joint replacements a hospital performs, the higher the chances of success. Some studies have found that a hospital that performs more than 100 joint replacements annually has lower complication rates than those who perform less.

Get a second opinion

Choosing the right surgeon is an important decision. If you aren’t 100% confident in the surgeon or hospital you are considering, seek out a second opinion. Ask the same questions about experience and qualifications that you asked the first surgeon. Keep in mind that switching surgeons is not unusual and you shouldn’t worry abut hurting a doctor’s feelings.

Virtual visits with orthopedics

Select patients can see our providers online from their home or office by using our Virtual Visit platform. This service allows you a fast, secure and easy way to receive care from the healthcare team in a live virtual visit using your phone or computer. The benefits of choosing a virtual visit include no travel or parking, less waiting, significant time savings and the convenience of seeing your physician from wherever you choose. Learn more

Want to learn more about the experience and track record of our hip surgeons?

If you have questions about the skills and experience of our orthopedic surgeons, call our nurse navigator Kathryn Harada today. Kathryn brings a passion for helping patients learn about the process and educating them on what to expect. To speak with Kathryn about your situation, call (805) 955-6233 or fill out the form below.

MEET OUR NURSE NAVIGATOR
Kathryn Harada, BSN, BA, RN, PHN, CNOR


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