If you need to have gallbladder removal surgery (cholecystectomy), you’ll want a highly qualified surgeon to perform the procedure. Who performs gallbladder removal, and how do you find the best surgeon who is right for you? Here are factors to consider in your search. Top Things to Look For Find a surgeon who: Is board certified in general surgery and who specializes in gallbladder conditions Practices at a hospital known to have high-quality outcomes in gallbladder removal surgery or gastrointestinal 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 surgeon to perform your surgery. 1. Ask Around Start by creating a list of potential 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 general surgeons on Healthgrades.com. Include gastrointestinal (GI) surgeons in your search. GI surgeons are general surgeons who focus on gastrointestinal surgery, which includes gallbladder removal. 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 general surgery and who performs gallbladder removal surgery on a regular basis. The more experience the surgeon has treating your condition or performing gallbladder removal surgery, the better prepared he or she is to anticipate and prevent complications. Also, confirm your gallbladder removal surgeon 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 Gallbladder removal surgery requires a team of highly skilled and experienced healthcare professionals. For this reason, you should also consider the overall quality of gastrointestinal care at the hospital where the surgeon practices. Find out where the 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 gallbladder removal surgery. Ideally, you should find a hospital in your area that performs better than expected (5-stars) for gallbladder removal, 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 surgeon hospital falls short in quality, ask the surgeon if he or she performs surgery at another facility. Otherwise, find a surgeon who treats patients at a hospital likely to offer you the best possible outcome: a Healthgrades rating of 5-stars in gallbladder removal surgery. 4. Interview the Surgeon As you narrow down your list of cholecystectomy 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 gallbladder removal surgeries have you performed? What results do you usually see? Do you keep track of surgical outcomes and complications? Can you share them with me? 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.