If you have a problem, condition, or injury related to your musculoskeletal system – muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons – your primary care doctor might have recommended you see an orthopedic surgeon. An orthopedic surgeon is a specialized medical doctor who is an expert in diagnosing, treating, and preventing a full range of conditions and injuries of the musculoskeletal system.
With so many orthopedic surgeons around, it can be difficult to find one that has the expertise needed to treat your specific condition. In this article, we’ll talk about how you can find the right orthopedic surgeon for your unique orthopedic problem, and where you can go in Walnut Creek, CA, to receive high quality orthopedic treatment.
Ask For Recommendations
To get started, ask your primary care physician which orthopedic surgeons they recommend. Your PCP may know the best orthopedic surgeon in your area or have a referral network to turn to. Other good sources for recommendations are your family, friends, or colleagues who have seen an orthopedic surgeon or know someone who has.
Know About Your Insurance Coverage
If you don’t want to pay out of pocket for appointments, find out beforehand whether your insurance plan will cover the cost of the treatment or surgery and if the orthopedist you’re considering is on your insurer’s provider list.
To do this, you can call your insurance company directly, or search the orthopedic surgeon on the member portal of your insurance company’s website.
Once you’ve made a list of potential orthopedic surgeons that accept your insurance and are recommended by your PCP and others you trust, you’ll want to narrow down the list by doing some research on each surgeon’s background and credentials.
Check the Background and Credentials of the Orthopedic Surgeon
Once you have a list of potential orthopedic surgeons that accept your insurance and are recommended by your PCP and others, make sure to choose an orthopedic surgeon who is board-certified. Board certification is one of the most desirable credentials that indicates that your orthopedist has studied the musculoskeletal system extensively and has the necessary training and experience needed to administer orthopedic care.
To verify the board certification of your potential orthopedic surgeon, you can visit the official website of the American Board of Orthopedic Surgeons.
You should also confirm that your potential orthopedic surgeon has no history of malpractice claims or disciplinary actions by checking your state medical board’s website.
Consider Area of Specialty and Experience
Not all orthopedists are created equal. Some have additional specialized training in a particular orthopedic discipline such as spine surgery or sports medicine. Make sure to choose an orthopedic surgeon who has received specialized training in treating your kind of musculoskeletal system problem. For instance, some orthopedic surgeons undergo special training after residency, called a fellowship, where they complete an extra year or two of training in a highly specialized area, such as joint repair surgeries for athletes. Look for an orthopedic surgeon with fellowship training in the type of surgery you need and consider how many years they’ve been in practice.
Read Patient Reviews
Patient testimonials and online reviews can provide insight into how your potential orthopedic surgeon practices medicine and how their practice operates.
From online reviews, you can learn about the orthopedic surgeon’s beside manners – how much time they spend with patients, how well patients trust the orthopedic surgeon to perform surgery, and how well the surgeon answer patient’s question.
In addition, patient reviews can also say a lot about patients’ experience with office staff and whether or not they facilitate efficient care. Look for reviews discussing appointment scheduling, wait times, staff manners, and office environment.
Evaluate The Communication Style and Bedside Manners
Once you’ve narrowed down your list using patient reviews and by researching the experience of each orthopedic surgeon, you should make an initial appointment with the top surgeons on your list. This is a very important step where you can see if the surgeon makes you feel comfortable when discussing your problem and if they can support your information needs.
During your appointment, ask questions and notice how your orthopedist responds. Consider if they take the time to make sure you understand everything they explain to you. Also, notice if your orthopedic surgeon is showing an interest in getting to know you, if they consider your treatment preference, and if they respect your decision on treatment.
Orthopedic Surgeon Near me in Walnut Creek CA
If you are in search of a great orthopedic surgeon, look no further than Dr. Laura Timmerman. She has been board-certified in California for over 30 years, and she is fellowship-trained in sports medicine. She specializes in treating athletic injuries in knees, shoulders, and elbows using arthroscopic and open surgery. She works with each patient to develop an individual treatment plan that ensures the best treatment and recovery possible.