Selection of a surgeon is a personal choice. It is a choice that makes you feel confident that your surgery will go well, that your surgeon has a good bedside manner and you can ask questions anytime you need answers.
When buying real estate the old saying about what is important is “Location, Location and Location.” In many people’s minds the most important factor in choosing a surgeon for hip resurfacing is “Experience, Experience and Experience.” There are many, many factors involved in a successful hip resurfacing operation.
In the United States it is difficult to learn about a surgeon’s record. In other countries, there are national registries that track a surgeons record as to how many hip replacements he/she has done, how many revisions were required, how many infections occurred, etc. The registries are very informative and give you insight to your doctor’s record of how successful his/her surgeries are.
I personally feel that experience can only be learned, it can not be taught. Many professional sportsmen have learned the technical skills to play the game – but you generally see the most experienced quarterbacks, pitchers, or goalies playing in the pros. The difference is the experience. These people learn almost instinctively what to do, they don’t take time to reason and figure out what to do. That is the kind of surgeon I want to do my hip surgery – a surgeon that has seen it all and done it all.
If a person has a more difficult hip problem such as advanced AVN, cysts, misaligned hips or an unusual physical problem they were born with – they need a very experienced surgeon.
To sum up the question of “How to Select a Surgeon”, choose a doctor that you feel comfortable with. Ask the doctor:
How many hip surgeries he/she does in a year
How many of the THR’s required revisions within one year? Two Years?
What kind of hip device will you receive?
What restrictions will be placed on your activities after you have healed?
How long will you be in the hospital?
What hospital do you use?
How long will you be on a walker or crutches?
When will I be 100% weight bearing?
What kind of PT will you need?
How long will I need PT?
Do you use cemented or uncemented? Why?
What anesthetic do you use?
How long does the surgery take?
What surgical approach do you use? Anterior or Posterior?
What is the incision length?
What is your post-op pain control plan?
What is their infection rate?
Have any of your patients had infections that required IV antibiotics following surgery?
What drugs/methods do you use for anti-coagulation after surgery?
Will I be given any at home nurse or PT care?
Is there anything unusual about my hip that might present problems?
What is your opinion of my returning to (whatever work or activities you do)
Ask questions and opinions from other people, then trust your own instincts and make up your own mind. It is your hip and your life.