Finding the Right Doctor for Meniscus Surgery
When you have a torn meniscus, proper treatment is critical to get you back to your normal activities. It will also help prevent future knee problems, like pain or loss of mobility. The treatment process starts with finding a good orthopedic surgeon. Here are important factors to keep in mind.
You want an orthopedic surgeon who:
- Is board certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
- Does meniscus surgery often—50 or more times a year—and has a good track record
- Has excellent references from other doctors and from patients who've had the surgery
- Communicates well and answers your questions fully
- Accepts your insurance
Here are four steps to finding the best orthopedic surgeon to perform your meniscus surgery.
Ask your primary care doctor and other doctors you see for references. Then do a little research on your own. Ask family members and friends about their experiences with orthopedic surgeons. If you’re starting 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.
Take time to research the doctors’ credentials and experience. Some orthopedic surgeons specialize in certain body parts, such as treating foot and ankle injuries. The surgeon you choose should be a specialist in knee injuries.
Look for a doctor who is board certified in orthopedic surgery and performs meniscus surgery regularly. The more experience a doctor has treating your condition or performing meniscus surgery, 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.
Another key factor is "bedside manner." 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?
A good surgeon should truly listen to your questions and concerns. Good communication is important because you should have a full understanding of everything that will happen before you have any surgery. You should know what you'll need to do before the surgery. You should understand what will happen during the operation. And, you need to know what your recovery will be like.
Surgery for a torn meniscus is a fairly common procedure. Still, your choice of surgeon is important. Finding a good doctor should help put your mind at ease about the procedure. If you feel uncomfortable in any way, do not hesitate to keep looking until you find the surgeon who's right for you.
Here are some questions to ask the doctor:
- Do you typically treat patients like me?
- How many meniscus surgeries have you performed?
- What results do you usually see? Do you have outcomes data to share?
- How frequently do you encounter complications from the surgery?
- What do you do to avoid complications or correct them if they occur?
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.