How can patients ensure their safety? The first step is to decide which surgeons are best for you. It is important to identify surgeons who you trust and who are approved by insurance. Seek out recommendations from health professionals you regularly see and from others who have had a similar procedure.
How to find a doctor? You can save a lot of money by spending an hour researching your surgeon.
How to search for a surgeon? One click will take you to a wealth of information on surgeons. You don’t have to spend an hour searching for unpleasant facts online. This could help prevent disaster. Here are four steps to help you learn everything about a surgeon.

  1. Confirm identity
    The Federation of State Medical Boards is able to tell you if a surgeon is licensed in your particular state. Click on Consumer Resources at for the free tool, “Learn About Your Physician.”
  2. Confirm your surgical certificate
    The American Board of Medical Specialties can tell you if a surgeon qualifies for a specialty. To find out more, visit You can also call 866-812-ABMS tollfree. “Board-certified”, means a physician has successfully passed a rigorous exam and undergone extensive training in the specialty.
    “Board eligibility” refers to doctors who have completed the necessary residency but have yet to pass their test. It is acceptable for young doctors to be board-eligible. They have a few more years to take and pass the test. However, the ABMS just issued a ruling saying that physicians who attempt to use the term “board eligible” throughout their entire careers are subject to sanctions.
  3. You should check to see if the doctor has been licensed by a professional licensing authority. For $9, the FSMB offers a list of the disciplinary records of doctors in any given state. (Click Credentialing, then Physician Information Services on its site).
    Other profiles include doctor certifications, board actions, and medical malpractice claims. Links to state websites can be found on the FSMB.
  4. Compare ratings, number of procedures, and complication rates
    ProPublica’s website and Consumers checkbooks have both websites which rate surgeons. The sites also provide information about the complications rates and the number of procedures, as well as their ratings based on recent Medicare data. As some surgeons have more complex patients or take on less healthy patients, it is fair for both the surgeons and their users to adjust their estimates.
    By entering your zip code, you can find a directory listing the eight most common procedures in your area. The list also includes the name of the hospital, the number, and complications they have experienced, as well the contact information for the staff. from the non-profit organization Consumers’ Checkbook provides a more complete analysis that includes more than 5,000,000 operations performed by more than 50,000 surgeons. It compares surgeons’ results on 12 types of surgical procedures.
  5. How to interview and select a surgeon
    After narrowing your search, it is time to make an appointment to have them review your case. These are questions you should always ask and the kinds of answers you should give back.
  6. This could be accomplished with minimally invasive surgery.
    This technique involves inserting small incisions to place several thin instruments as well as a video camera within the body. As the surgeon performs the procedure on the camera, it transmits images onto a television screen.
    Many common surgeries can now all be performed via laparoscopic surgery using keyhole incisions. There are many advantages to using these keyhole incisions: less pain, quicker healing, fewer infections, and shorter hospital stays. These techniques may not be taught to all surgeons.
    What percentage of these operations require open surgery? What is the difference between these two types of complications and how long do they take to heal?
    The benefits of minimally invasive surgery are different for each operation. Not all people are good candidates. These questions will tell you what type of surgery your surgeon prefers and why.
  7. How do I finalize my decision?
    You have found a surgeon who is competent on paper, but who impresses you in person. However, before you make the final decision about hiring a surgeon, it is important to get references and investigate all details.
    Talk to others who have had this procedure performed by this surgeon.
    Ask your doctor to provide numbers and names. Many wills, but only for patients who have given references based upon a positive outcome.
  8. Talk to them
    Hospital staff, nurses, and fellow doctors all know which doctors are the best.
    Get a second viewpoint
    Ask your surgeon if you truly need this procedure. Particularly important is a second opinion when you’re having a new or complex procedure. Look for centers of excellence nearby, such as major hospitals like the Mayo Clinic.
  9. Consider your interview one last chance
    How easy was it to communicate? Did he answer all of your questions well Does she appear caring? Is she someone you can trust?
    Also, ask yourself if the surgeon has asked questions that were relevant to your situation. The surgeon shouldn’t have asked you questions about your health, fears, or needs.

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