How to Find a Qualified Surgeon

You need an operation, your doctor tells you. Suddenly, you also need a surgeon! What do you look for? Obviously, someone who's qualified and who has staff privileges at an accredited hospital or ambulatory surgery center. If it's a hip replacement you need, you'll want an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in joint replacements. Read about the resources that can help you find the surgeon who's a perfect match for you.

The best starting place to find a qualified surgeon is to ask for a referral from the doctor who is treating your medical problem or wants you to talk to a surgeon. If you are a member of a managed care plan and you don’t want out-of-pocket costs, make sure that the surgeon your doctor refers you to is in your health plan.

If the doctor cannot recommend a specific surgeon, there are a number of other ways you can find a surgeon. A few ideas follow:

  • Talk to a friend who had a similar operation. Ask which physician performed his or her procedure and whether your friend was satisfied with the doctor.
  • Find a surgeon in your area through the ACS Web site. (Click on the "Public Information" link at the top of the home page.) Or call 312-202-5391.
  • Medical specialty societies may have a physician referral phone number or physician finder on their Web sites.
  • Many hospitals and health plans have physician referral services or Web-based physician finders. If you have preferences, such as a surgeon’s specialty or gender, share them with the referral service.

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