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How To Find an Orthopedic Surgeon

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Updated May 28, 2014

Finding an orthopedic surgeon can be a difficult task. Here are a few steps to complete if you don't know where to turn to next.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 15 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Talk to your primary care doctor.
    Here or she will know the best doctors in your area, and will have experience referring other patients to local orthopedists.

  2. Talk to your friends.
    For common conditions such as arthritis, ACL surgery, etc., surely you'll have co-workers, friends, or family who know the local orthopedists and will have first hand experience.

  3. Check your doctor out online.
    The American Medical Association and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons both have databases that can be accessed online. There are also web databases of physicians that have excellent search features to help you research your doctor.

  4. Ask tough questions.
    Don't be afraid to ask about your doctor's credentials and experience. For some ideas of questions you can ask about your doctor, your surgery, and other issues, click here.

  5. Consider a second opinion.
    Did you not find what you were looking for? Want to be sure of what you heard? Don't hesitate to seek a second opinion, just to make sure.

  6. Trust your instincts.
    If a meeting with a doctor does not go well it doesn't mean they're a bad doctor or you're a bad patient, but it may mean the two of you don't work together optimally.

Tips:

  1. Don't try to find the 'best' doctor.
    There are too many definitions of 'best' and too many great doctors. Sure, look for an experienced, well-regarded surgeon, but also look for someone you work well with and who you trust.

  2. Stick with it.
    While seeking a second opinion is useful, too many opinions can cloud your thinking. Also, working with a doctor may require many visits over months or years. Moving around will hinder this process.

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