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Choosing a Surgeon

How do you know if your surgeon is a quality surgeon who is looking out for your best interests? Reputation in a community is generally a good place to start. You can ask your primary care doctor or other doctors who they would they would go to for a surgical problem. How long has your surgeon been in the community? If your surgeon has been in practice in only one location and for a long time, then that surgeon has stability and likely is a good surgeon. If your surgeon has moved about from city to city, state to state, or group to group then he/she has likely been having problems of one form or another. Is your surgeon board certified or eligible (eligible means he/she has finished his training, but not yet taken the board exams)? Generally a surgeon is not eligible to take the board exams until he/she has been in practice for about 2 years. If your surgeon has been practicing for 5 years or so and has not passed the board exams you might want to consider getting another surgeon for your problem. You can check to see if your Neurosurgeon is board certified here.

Other ways to know if your surgeon is a quality surgeon is to consider if s/he gives you all the information you need to make a decision? Cranial and Spine problems are complicated and in general a surgeon will spend 40-60 min with your case before offering you surgery. This would include obtaining your history, a physical examination, reviewing the radiologic studies personally with you (actually showing you your pictures/scans) and discussing your diagnosis. If you need surgery, your surgeon should spend enough time with you so that you completely understand your condition, your surgical and non-surgical options, and the outcomes and complications of the suggested surgery. Finally, all quality surgeons have no problems with you getting a second opinion and usually will give you the risks/benefits of getting a second opinion.

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