Choosing the right hand surgeon can be a daunting process. Hand Surgeons handle upper extremity problems from the fingertips to the elbow.
Here are the key factors to consider:
Is the doctor Board Certified in hand surgery?
Is your hand surgeon subspecialty board certified for hand surgery? This is an important distinction you should look for in a hand surgeon.
Ask if your surgeon possesses a Subspecialty Certificate in Surgery of the Hand.
Ask if your surgeon is trained in Orthopedics and devotes his/her practice 100% to treatment of the hand, wrist, and elbow.
Ask if your surgeon is a full member of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH).
Is the doctor 100% devoted to surgery of the Hand, Wrist, and Elbow?
Do they also operate on other body parts? It is very possible that the patient after you is being seen for breast augmentation, gallbladder surgery, back pain, or hip replacement.
Is there a long wait for appointments?
It is very important to be seen by a doctor quickly when you have an acute injury.
Is it important to see a doctor in your network?
This is frequently the most important question to a patient. Remember that a serious hand injury or disorder can have a permanent impact on the quality of your life and your future earnings. Consider seeing the best surgeon. See the surgeon that meets the above qualifications and is referred by people you know and trust.
Is your doctor willing to try non-operative measures first?
Most hand problems never need surgery. Make sure your doctor is open to techniques other than surgery. Less than 10% of Dr. Cohen's patients ever need surgery.
Is the doctor in a small group at one location?
This is very important. Multiple offices means limited availability in emergency situations, or that someone other than a hand specialist (sometimes not a physician) will see you at the office you go to. Or, that you will need to drive to another city to find your doctor.