Going “under the knife” can be scary, as there is always a risk for complications. To ensure the best chance of a smooth recovery, it’s a good idea to find the best surgeon you can for your upcoming procedure. This is especially important for heart procedures and cancer surgery.
Number of Procedures
While quantity doesn’t always equal quality, a surgeon who has performed an operation more frequently generally has a higher rate of success, statistically speaking. This is especially true for complicated procedures or ones that are relatively new. Since the number of procedures isn’t a foolproof criterion in and of itself, you can also ask your doctor how many of his or her procedures went awry relative to how many went smoothly. A good doctor should answer this question honestly and with confidence.
A quality doctor should work in a facility that routinely strives for surgical excellence. Examples of surgical excellence include using proper techniques and knowing which medications to prescribe before and after a procedure. Naturally, if a surgeon or clinic has a history of lawsuits from unhappy patients, surgical excellence has not been met.
Even after a surgeon has undergone training, a good one will continue to renew his or her board certification. Doing so means that the surgeon actively keeps abreast of important changes in care and service.
Hospital Infection Rate
It’s possible to check many hospitals’ infection rates through Consumer Reports. Seventeen states currently make this information public, and other hospitals outside of these states sometimes volunteer the information.
A good surgeon will provide necessary follow-up care. This care may include a phone call the day after surgery, as well as scheduled appointments. Some even offer a call-in line for any post-op concerns. Additionally, with an increase in population, some facilities are beginning to require patients to check out of the hospital quite early after the procedure has been completed. For some procedures, it may be in your best interest to stay in the hospital overnight so nurses and other professionals can monitor your care. If a surgeon discharges patients too early, it could be a sign that his or her hospital or care facility is understaffed, underfunded or both. Either could potentially have an adverse effect on your recovery.
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