Choosing a Surgeon
When choosing a surgeon, you might consider asking the questions below.
- What are your qualifications? Are you board certified?
You will want to know that your surgeon is experienced and qualified to perform the operation. Many surgeons have taken special training and passed exams given by a national board of surgeons. Ask if your surgeon is "board certified" in surgery. Some surgeons also have the letters F.A.C.S. after their name. This means they are Fellows of the American College of Surgeons and have passed another review by surgeons of their surgical skills.
- How many surgeries of this type have you performed?
One way to reduce the risks of surgery is to choose a surgeon who has been well trained to do the surgery and has plenty of experience doing it.
- What is the average complication rate? What is your complication rate?
This will let you know two things, one how tricky and complex the surgery is and two, how good your surgeon is. You can also check complication rates for particular surgeries online.
- At which hospital will the operation be done?
Most surgeons work at one or two local hospitals. Find out where your surgery will be done and how often the same operation is done there. Research shows that patients often do better when they have surgery in hospitals with more experience in the operation. Your operation should be performed in an accredited hospital, outpatient surgery center, or cancer treatment center. Accreditation means that the hospital or surgical center is committed to providing high quality health care and that it has demonstrated commitment to meeting high patient safety standards.