things to look for in a knee replacement surgeon

6 Things To Consider When Looking For A Knee Replacement Surgeon

I visited family prior to having my knee replacement surgery.  My son-in-law, who is a medical professional, was concerned about how much I was limping. He suggested I visit his friend who was an orthopedic surgeon for a closer look at my knee and its condition.

His friend routinely does knee replacements so I felt it was a good opportunity to get a non-biased opinion. He took X-rays and without hesitation said I needed a knee replacement.

He was surprised that I was able to do as much walking as I was doing and suggested I visit an orthopedic surgeon when I returned home. I told him that I had moved to a new area and was unfamiliar with the doctors in the area.

His response was helpful.  He said the implant was not as important as the surgeon who did the procedure and he advised me to use the Internet, ask friends and acquaintances, and look for a surgeon who had a waiting list.

Finding A Good Knee Replacement Surgeon

When I returned home I got to work looking for a knee surgeon. I went on the Internet and looked for orthopedic surgeons who did knee replacement surgeries in a 25-mile radius of my home.

I wrote down the few I discovered on the Internet.

I had recently started playing pickleball so I had a group of people I could ask about knee replacements.

Several people in the pickleball group had the procedure. While some of the people had their surgery out of the area, there were a few who had their surgery locally. Most were satisfied with their surgeon and were eager to share their experience.

One person had a negative experience – it was discouraging to hear about her experience but I made a mental note and remembered the surgeon’s name.  From the Internet and informal interviews with friends, I selected a few surgeons.

I made an appointment with the surgeon who most people raved about.

>>check out my article: Things you need after knee replacement

I went to see him thinking that if I wasn’t pleased I would schedule another appointment with the 2nd doctor on my list. However, I was impressed with the amount of time he took going over my X-ray and how he explained the procedure.

I was relieved to know that I would have to wait a few months as he was fully booked for TKR surgeries. During the wait, I could prepare myself for surgery.

Below are 6 things to consider when choosing a knee replacement surgeon.

  1. Wide Open Schedule

My son-in-law’s friend said I should be wary of surgeons who could schedule the procedure in a week or two. As you can imagine, most sought-after surgeons are fully booked a few months in advance and that’s a good sign.

If people are not waiting in line, chances are the surgeon does not have the best reputation.

  1. Poor Reviews From Patients

Asking friends and acquaintances about their experiences with TKR was a big help. Not only did they suggest certain doctors but they also gave me a realistic idea about recovery time.

I learned about their mistakes and successes and the importance of being conscientious about rehabbing the knee after TKR. I gleaned an enormous amount of information asking questions and listening to their experiences.

  1. Physical Therapists

Physical therapists are hesitant to badmouth surgeons but they have no problem telling you which surgeons they are impressed with. One of the pickleball players in my activity group was a physical therapist and when I mentioned the two surgeons I was considering, he had good things to say about both.

He even told me that one of them had done meniscus surgery for him.

>>check out my article on the best exercises to prepare for TKR

Who knows the surgeons better than a local physical therapist? After all, they help rehabilitate a wide range of patients from several different surgeons.

  1. Bad Communication

If a surgeon has trouble communicating about the surgery, it will likely cause confusion for the patient.  When you leave your first visit with your TKR surgeon, you should have a good idea of the preparation, pre-surgery, surgery, and recovery after the operation.

If you leave with a lot of questions, your doctor might not have communicated well.

I was impressed when my doctor took the time to explain the procedure thoroughly as well as the importance of the physical therapy afterward. He then asked me if I had any questions.

I had written down about ten questions and he patiently answered them all. If he would have been brusque and been in a hurry I probably would have looked elsewhere for another surgeon.

  1. Disorganized Office

If a doctor’s office is disorganized what does that say about the doctor?  It might mean the doctor doesn’t pay close attention to detail.

Would you want to trust a surgeon for a knee replacement that doesn’t have a well-organized office?  I know I wouldn’t.

I like things organized and was impressed with the organization of the surgeon’s office. The receptionist was polite and I had very little wait time.

Once I went into the waiting room, an assistant put my information in the computer and gave me a personal pain survey to complete. I met the PA who went over my survey and he took me to the X-ray technician.

Once the X-ray was complete I saw the doctor without waiting long.

>> my article on ice packs after knee replacement surgery

  1. Conflicting Information from Staff

When you enter the medical office for your first appointment you’ll speak with a number of people including receptionists, medical assistants and nurses, x-ray technicians and your doctor.

You’ll need to remember the information they share and take notes.  You’ll also be given medical documents to review once you get home.

If you notice that you’ve been given conflicting information from people in the office, it may be a bad sign and leave you with more questions than you originally had.

In my case, the receptionist, the assistant, the physician’s assistant, and the X-ray technician were all on the same page as the doctor. It was a smooth transition from one to the other.

They did their job well, and I felt more confident after leaving the appointment. It put me at ease.

After seeing the doctor, he took me to the scheduling station himself and he gave me a choice of dates for the surgery. I had to wait a few months but I was able to choose the day of the week and the time of the surgery.

He scheduled 3 surgeries a day and I choose the 2nd slot at 10:00 am.

Conclusion

I am convinced that you need to feel comfortable with the surgeon that you choose for TKR. Make sure you do some research.

Consult the Internet for general information and reviews, ask friends and acquaintances, ask any health professionals that you may know, and visit as many surgeons until you feel comfortable with the surgeon who is going to do your knee replacement.

You should also feel good about your overall experience in the surgeon’s office. The device or implant is not as big an issue as who does the knee replacement.

Don’t choose a surgeon with a wide-open schedule. Choose a surgeon who explains the procedure and is patient and willing to answer any questions and concerns you may have.

Ask all the questions you can think of to put your mind at ease. The more confidence that you have in your surgeon the more successful your TKR experience will be.

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