Finding the Right Doctor for Carotid Artery Surgery
If you need to have carotid artery surgery, you’ll want a highly qualified vascular surgeon to perform the procedure. How do you find the best vascular surgeon who is right for you? Here are important factors to keep in mind.
Top Things to Look For
Find a vascular surgeon who:
- Is board certified and who specializes in carotid artery surgery
- Has experience treating patients with your specific condition
- Practices at a hospital known to have high-quality outcomes in carotid artery surgery or vascular surgery in general
- Accepts your insurance
- You are comfortable talking with and who fully answers your questions
Here are five steps to finding the best vascular surgeon to perform your carotid artery surgery.
1. Ask Around
Start by creating a list of potential vascular surgeons. Ask your family, friends, and other healthcare providers for recommendations. If you’re starting without any referrals, or you’re looking for more options, search for vascular 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 vascular surgery and performs carotid artery surgery on a regular basis. The more experience a doctor has treating your condition or performing carotid artery surgery, the better your results are likely to be.
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
Vascular procedures often require a team of highly skilled and experienced healthcare providers. For this reason, you should also consider the overall quality of vascular care at the hospital where the surgeon practices.
Find out where the vascular 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 carotid surgery.
Ideally you should find a hospital in your area that performs better than expected (5-stars) for carotid surgery. 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 Surgeon
As you narrow down your list of vascular 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 carotid artery surgeries have you performed?
- What results do you usually see? Do you have outcomes data to share?
- Which complications do you most frequently encounter from the surgery?
- Which complications are most common in your practice?
- 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.
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