The 5 Most Important Considerations When Choosing a Joint Replacement Surgeon
Posted on April 19, 2016
You’re a savvy consumer. And you know that choosing the right joint replacement surgeon for your knee, hip or shoulder replacement is one of the most important healthcare decisions you’ll make. Here are five things to keep in mind as you make your selection.
- Is the Surgeon specifically specialized in Joint Replacement? Is your doctor a general orthopedic surgeon or has he received additional training in joint replacements and is highly specialized in his field? Some joint replacement surgeons even specialize in niche procedures within the field of joint replacement. These include minimally invasive knee replacement, reverse shoulder replacement or the anterior approach to hip replacement. Know your surgeon’s specialization to find the one with the most experience in the procedure you need. Panorama Orthopedics has 34 orthopedic and spine surgeons. 6 of our surgeons are joint replacement specialists who have completed fellowship training in joint replacement.
- How many Joint Replacement surgeries do they perform each year? A general orthopedic surgeon might dabble in joint replacement, performing just 25 or fewer joint replacement surgeries a year. Meanwhile, a surgeon who is specially trained in joint replacement will have a singular focus on replacement, seeing only joint replacement patients and performing hundreds of surgeries a year. This affords them the opportunity to hone their skills around this highly specialized procedure, becoming highly skilled and efficient in this particular type of surgery. Studies in medical journals actually show there is a lower risk of revision surgery and complications for patients operated on by a surgeon who specializes in joint replacement. Panorama surgeon’s who specialize in joint replacement each perform hundreds of joint replacements a year. That is their singular focus.
- Where will my Surgery take place? Yes, it’s important to know who your surgeon is, but it also helps to know where your procedure will be done. Hospitals vary widely in cost, comfort, outcomes and special services. Some hospitals that do a high volume of joint replacement surgeries have invested in very expensive equipment in their operating rooms specifically designed for joint replacement surgery – specialized tables, venting and air exchange systems that lower the chance of infection and specialized imaging systems. Be sure to ask: What is the patient satisfaction rate at the hospital you’ll be going to? And on average how long will you be there after your procedure? Panorama Orthopedics partnered with the region’s largest Health System to build their own Orthopedic specialty hospital – OrthoColorado. Panorama surgeons perform most all of their orthopedic surgery, that requires a hospital stay, in this unique orthopedic only hospital. All nurses, technicians and staff members are specially trained in orthopedics and only care for orthopedic patients. All equipment and ventilation systems are state of the art and tailored to provide the best patient experience. All this attention to detail translates to some of the best outcomes in the country and the makes it the highest rated hospital for patient experience in the Rocky Mountain region and in the top 1% nationally
- How Much will it Cost? There is a wide variance in costs for joint replacement surgery, and healthcare organizations are beginning to share pricing information with consumers. You don’t want to be on the hook for more than you can afford. And it absolutely may be possible to find a better experience and a lower cost. So, don’t be afraid to ask and shop around. The average cost for patients with insurance at OrthoColorado Hospital are lower than most Colorado hospitals — up to 30 to 50 percent lower than other Colorado hospitals in some cases. On average, Panorama’s hip and knee replacement surgeries cost 18.4 percent less than the Denver average.
- What is the Plan after surgery? The success of your joint replacement surgery relies on more than the surgery itself. What happens after the procedure is essential. Be sure you ask about what happens after your hospital stay ends. Where do most of the patients go after being released from the hospital—home, a skilled nursing facility, or an inpatient rehabilitation center? If you are healthy and active, and have support at home, your goal should be to return home directly from the hospital. Once you return home, will you be able to reach somebody 24 hours a day, seven days a week? Is there a plan in place for your care? Was your surgeon clear about what to expect as you heal? When does physical therapy start? Will your physical therapist be specially trained in joint replacement rehabilitation? Access to a full team of care providers after surgery helps ensure a successful recovery.
Panorama patients individually meet with a nurse prior to surgery to lay out the care plan and determine all their care partners so that rehabilitation can begin right away, even in the hospital, with physical therapists that are specially trained in joint replacement. Following surgery, our care providers will touch base with patients by phone and email for 3 months after surgery making sure that recovery is going as expected. Panorama also offers patients a phone number where they can reach us 24/7 with questions or concerns during their recovery.
By asking these five questions — and making sure you are comfortable with the answers — you can be confident you’ll choose the right joint replacement surgeon for you.