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sadiegirlssadiegirl Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:43 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
how do you check experience/success rates on your doctor?


  • I was wondering the same thing before and after I got my surgery.Altho my neurosurgeon is considered one of the best in western canada.
    I just goolgled his name and up poped a rating forum specific to him...try it, you may get lucky.
  • As Killian suggested, google the doc's name, you can many times get info on their CV's (curriculum vitae - it's an MD's 'resume'), professional organizations they belong to, as well as any papers/studies/textbooks/hospital/teaching affiliations they may have.
    Also, check to see if they are board certified/fellowship trained in their specialty (orthopedic spine specialist or neurologist whose practices focuses on issues of the spine primarily). Some states also have websites where you can look up your doc, get their license #, # of years in practice, where they went to school & had training and whether there's been any litigation or inquiries. Hope this helps, let us know how it works out.


    Edit to add link to AMA website: www.ama-assn.org
  • Also, you can call your state's AMA office. You can find out if there are any lawsuits filed against him and a variety of other facts.

    Regarding success rates, that is not anything that is published. In a conversation with the doctor you can ask specific questions and many will offer you some patients that are willing to talk with you about a previous surgery. Of course I'm sure they don't hand out the names of disgruntled patients.

    Another useful thing if you have the opportunity, it to talk to physical therapists that specialize in orthopedic cases. They usually know who's good and who is not...who patients are pleased with, and who are not. You can do the same with PMs and physiatrists' staff. Sometimes the doctor will make a comment. You can do the same thing on an orthopedic floor at a hospital. The nurses know who is good and who has the reputation of not being as successful.

    I learned a lot in the pool at the tennis club I belong to...just overhearing a conversation from several women and then eventually, I asked them some questions!!

    Other than through the AMA or another professional website, you are mostly getting anecdotal information...and you have to keep in mind that what one patient desires in a doctor is different for another patient.

    Also you cannot totally go on academic credentials and professional organizations. You may find that the surgeon who is not spread so thin has more time to spend with you, his patient. He will be able to give you more of a personal touch than the big hot-shot name at the big teaching hospital who does research, teaches, writes papers, etc. They usually have a PA or fellow who does all the initial work-up with the patient. Then they sail in for the last few minutes of the appointment, just to rubber stamp the other person's work. To me there are trade-offs.

    After you see several doctors, you will get a sense for which type you prefer. I can now tell from the waiting room whether I am going to be comfortable in a practice, or not.
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    Each state has public records on the surgeon. In Arizona the record shows their training (med school with years of completion, fellowships, residency, etc). It also shows any legal action against the surgeon.

    It's important to understand that even a great surgeon may have the history of a legal suit against them and to get the details if you can. My surgoen in Illinois had 1 case against him. When I checked out what it was.....a woman who had a lumbar fusion sued him because the 3 level fusion left a scar. Seriously, not kidding, and they settled with her. Of course no surgeon will ever touch her again if they look into her history of legal suits for stuff like that!
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
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