Knowing Your Surgeon
Whether you are referred to a physician for surgical care, or you make the choice yourself, don’t take your surgeon’s qualifications for granted. Make sure your operation is performed by a competent physician whose specialty is surgery. It could be the most important decision you make. Here are some qualifications to look for:
A good sign of a surgeon’s competence is certification by a surgical board. When you choose a surgeon, who is board certified in a surgical specialty, you are assured that they have completed years of residency training in their specialty and have demonstrated knowledge and competence by successfully completing a rigorous examination. All board-certified surgeons have satisfactorily completed an approved residency training program and have passed a rigorous specialty examination. The letters F.A.C.S. (Fellow of the American College of Surgeons) after a surgeon’s name are a further indication of a physician’s qualifications. Surgeons who become Fellows of the College have passed a comprehensive evaluation of their surgical training and skills; they also have demonstrated their commitment to high standards of ethical conduct. This evaluation was established to ensure that patients receive the best possible surgical care If you are unsure of a surgeon’s qualifications, don’t hesitate to ask them directly. They should be happy to review any qualifications to set you at ease before your operation.
Practice in an Accredited Health Care Facility
Your surgeon will arrange for your operation to be performed in a hospital or ambulatory surgery center where he has been approved for practice. The hospital should be accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), a professionally sponsored program to stimulate a higher quality of patient care in hospitals and other health care facilities. When a hospital or ambulatory surgery center has voluntarily sought accreditation, it is a good indication that the facility is committed to providing the best possible care for its patients. Don’t be afraid to ask and have your questions answered by your doctor so that you are prepared for the process. Knowing your surgeon before the day of surgery will reduce your stress level and thus improve your overall health before beginning the process of recovery.