Medicine has really moved on in the past few decades – we’re entering a time in our history when advances in medicine are happening quicker than ever before. We’re also entering a time when medicine has become more people-focused, especially in terms of choice, and as such the ability for people to ‘shop around’ for elective surgeries has never been higher.

Surgeons who specialize in elective surgical procedures, such as plastic surgeons and Cataract surgeons, are in high demand. They need to have a good level of skills and experience to make it in the private marketplace. Inevitably, some are better than others. But how do you determine which surgeon is best for your needs? Read on to find out.

Choosing a Surgeon

Unless you are in dire need of emergency surgery, most people will meet their prospective surgeon ahead of the procedure to discuss their care. This is a good opportunity for you to get to know your surgeon and interview them beforehand. Being able to get to know your surgeon and how he or she approaches patient care is a good way to make yourself feel more confident and comfortable before you go under the knife. Prepare for the meeting by writing down a list of questions you’d like to ask and doing some research.

Here are three things you should consider when choosing a surgeon.

Check Their Certifications and Credentials

Every state has a different approach to what certifications surgeons must have, and this may even change intrastate depending on the discipline in question. It is absolutely critical that you choose a surgeon who is licensed to work in your state, as without this licensure, your insurance is unlikely to cover either your surgery or any issues arising from it.

Use the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) website to check your chosen surgeon’s licensure status, and check out the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) website to ensure your surgeon has the correct certifications to be performing the surgery that he or she is advertising.

It is possible for newer and younger surgeons to be classed as “board-eligible,” which means they have yet to pass the board test (which may take a few years). But if your surgeon has been working in the field for close to a decade and is still only board eligible, this is a red flag.

Check for Any Professional Reprimands

No one likes to think that their surgeon has gone through ethics board hearings or was once suspended, but due to the nature of medicine, this is a distinct possibility. It’s important to remember that not all reprimands are necessarily a red flag, and a surgeon who has been investigated and found to have committed no wrong-doing may not be a bigger risk than a surgeon who hasn’t been investigated.

Check Your Surgeon’s Rating

There are a few websites that allow you to check the rating of your surgeon. It’s a bit like TripAdvisor, but for surgery. These sites allow you to see how many surgeries the surgeon has performed and what the overall feedback for the surgeon is. This is a really good way to get crowd-sourced information about your surgeon and their approach to work, but do remember that your case is an individual one and should be treated as such.

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