Know­ing Your Sur­geon

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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:

Board Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion

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.

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