If you plan to have shoulder replacement surgery, you’ll want a highly qualified orthopedic surgeon to perform the procedure. How do you find the best orthopedic surgeon who is right for you? Here are important factors to keep in mind. Top Things to Look For Find an orthopedic surgeon who: Is board certified in orthopedic surgery and who specializes in shoulder replacements Has experience treating patients with your specific condition Practices at a hospital known to have high-quality outcomes in shoulder surgery and orthopedic care Accepts your insurance You are comfortable talking with and who fully answers your questions Here are five steps to finding the best orthopedic surgeon to perform your shoulder replacement. 1. Ask Around Start by creating a list of potential orthopedic surgeons. Ask your family, friends, and other healthcare providers for recommendations. If you’re starting out without any referrals, or you’re looking for more options, search for orthopedic surgeons on Healthgrades.com. Healthgrades.com shows patient satisfaction ratings, which give you insight into how your own experience might be with the doctor. Patients rate the doctor and the doctor’s medical practice, and say if they would recommend the doctor to family and friends. 2. Research Credentials and Experience Take time to research the doctors’ credentials and experience. Look for a doctor who is board certified in orthopedic surgery and performs shoulder replacement on a regular basis. The more experience a doctor has treating your condition and performing shoulder replacement, the better prepared he or she is to anticipate and prevent complications. Also, confirm that the doctor is in good standing with state and federal agencies and that he or she has no history of malpractice claims or disciplinary actions. You’ll find all this information on Healthgrades.com. 3. Examine Hospital Performance Orthopedic procedures require a team of highly skilled and experienced healthcare professionals. For this reason, you should also consider the overall quality of orthopedic care at the hospital where the surgeon practices. Find out where the orthopedic surgeons on your list can treat patients; then research those hospitals on Healthgrades.com. Healthgrades evaluates hospitals on mortality and complication rates of patients while in the hospital for a range of common procedures, including a range of orthopedic procedures. Ideally you should find a hospital in your area that performs better than expected (5-stars) for orthopedic surgery, and then find a doctor who can admit and treat patients at this hospital. Avoid hospitals with lower than expected (1-star) results. If a particular hospital falls short in quality, determine if the surgeon also operates at a different facility. Otherwise, find a surgeon who treats patients at a hospital likely to offer you the best possible outcome. 4. Interview the Doctor As you narrow down your list of orthopedic surgeons, call each surgeon’s office and ask for a consult appointment to meet and interview the doctor. Ask yourself if you are comfortable talking with the doctor. Does he or she respect your opinions and answer your questions in a way you understand? Here are some questions to ask the doctor: Do you typically treat patients like me? How many shoulder replacements have you performed in the past and how many do you perform each year? What type of shoulder replacement surgery will you perform and why? What results do you usually see? Do you have outcomes data to share? How many of your patients require repeat surgery? How frequently do you encounter complications from the surgery? What do you do to avoid complications or correct them if they occur? 5. Determine Your Insurance Benefit Your insurance coverage is a practical matter. To receive the most insurance benefits and pay the least out-of-pocket for your surgery, you need to choose a surgeon that participates in your plan. But keep in mind, just because a doctor participates in your insurance plan doesn’t mean he or she is a high-quality doctor. You still need to consider the doctor’s experience and expertise.