Undergoing surgery always gives patients concerns, but if you’ve been dealing with a serious orthopedic issue for a long time, it may be well worth it to schedule a consultation. Selecting the right orthopedic surgeon may seem overwhelming, but there are a few ways to vet your options for an optimal outcome with a provider you trust.

Find a Practice That Fits Your Needs

Finding the right orthopedic surgeon is an important first step. Orthopedic surgeons, despite their name, do far more than just surgery – they offer complete musculoskeletal care at every stage of the disease process. After establishing a diagnosis, orthopedic surgeons help with non-surgical care options like physical therapy, medications, braces, shots, and more.

Additionally, the majority of orthopedic surgeons specialize in a specific area or body part. After initial training, orthopedic surgeons often complete an additional fellowship in a subspecialty where they tend to focus their practice, meaning they can offer extensive expertise in that area. Don’t just look for any orthopedic surgeon – look for one that specializes in the body part that you need treated. Certain surgeons will specialize in different techniques within the same surgery, so you can get a variety of opinions on your best options. For example, Dr. Steven Goldberg completed a fellowship in the shoulder and elbow at Columbia University in New York, one of the most prestigious and well-known fellowships in the field of shoulder surgery. 

Assess Their Communication Style

Having good chemistry with your surgeon may not matter to you, but trusting them is critical. Carefully study your surgeon’s method of communication. Are they pleasant and direct? Do they answer your questions in a way that you understand? Surgeons are busy, but you should feel comfortable trusting that they understand your problem and they have a specific plan to remedy it. Ask if this is something they treat regularly and what the likely outcome will be from patients they’ve treated before. Make sure you are comfortable with their answers. If nothing else, this is one of the single most important factors in choosing a doctor of any kind.

Get Referrals and Recommendations

Ask your regular doctor for referrals to an orthopedic surgeon. Ask them who they would send their own family to. When deciding between surgeons, it may be helpful to talk with more than one. Some doctors may offer completely different options than others. Make sure to also read their reviews from a variety of sources and patients to get a feel for what you can expect from them. Physical therapists are also a great source of recommendations since they often work with the results of many different orthopedic surgeons in the area.

Know When You’re Ready for Surgery

Minor aches and pains can be a regular part of life, but when it begins to interfere with your essential activities, such as self-care, dressing, sleeping, walking, etc., activities you can’t avoid doing, it’s time to consider meeting with an orthopedic surgeon. Once you’ve met a doctor you like, your surgeon can also help advise you whether it’s the right time for surgery.

Your Surgeon’s Credentials Matter

Study up on your orthopedic surgeon’s credentials as well. Above all, make sure your orthopedic surgeon is board-certified and experienced in your chosen procedure. The governing board overseeing this field is the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, and surgeons associated with this organization may sometimes have the letters FAAOS after their title (some doctors do not always publish this even if they are FAAOS, including Dr. Goldberg). Don’t be afraid to ask how many years they have been in practice or how many times they have performed this particular procedure.

Don’t Be Afraid to Seek a Second Opinion

Second opinions are a way to ensure there is a consensus on your treatment options. Even if you feel confident in your first choice of surgeon, sometimes it is still beneficial to seek out a second opinion, especially if this is a major procedure with significant risks. Keep in mind that this process is very common and you should not feel guilty about asking. Your initial surgeon and their practice shouldn’t be upset or difficult to work with. It’s perfectly understandable to explore your options and reaffirm your choice before moving ahead.

Schedule a Consultation

The best way to learn more about your options for treating your musculoskeletal issue is by meeting with a board-certified orthopedic surgeon. To meet with Dr. Steven S. Goldberg and our team, we invite you to contact our Naples office by calling or filling out our online form.