How To Tell If A Surgeon Is Experienced In Your Procedure

A surgeon is a medical doctor trained to perform surgical procedures to treat injuries, diseases, and abnormalities (via Ross University School of Medicine). Surgeons are highly skilled professionals who have completed extensive education and training to be able to perform complex procedures on the human body, says the university. According to the University, surgeons typically spend several years in medical school, followed by a period of supervised training called a residency. After completing their residency, surgeons may choose to specialize in a particular area, such as general surgery, cardiovascular surgery, or neurosurgery.

Surgeons work in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices, explains the American College of Surgeons. They may be responsible for diagnosing medical conditions, developing treatment plans, performing surgeries and providing follow-up care to patients, says the college. In addition to their clinical responsibilities, surgeons may also be involved in research and education. Overall, they play a crucial role in the healthcare system, providing life-saving and life-enhancing treatments to patients.

How many years experience do they have?

Asking about a surgeon's experience is vital. This involves finding out many times the surgeon has performed the specific procedure you are interested in. 

A surgeon who has performed a procedure many times is likely to be more skilled and might better understand the procedure and any potential complications. A 1998 study published in the Annals of Surgery looked at the correlation between surgeon experience and improved clinical outcomes by assessing the relationship between surgeon experience and hospital discharge and length of stay. The study found an association between surgeon experience and complications. 

Besides researching a surgeon's years of experience and success rate, the American Association of Retired Persons advises researching surgical certifications. In the United States, becoming a surgeon typically requires a bachelor's degree. In order to apply to medical school, most students will need to have completed a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as biology, chemistry, or physics (via The next step is medical school. This typically takes four years to complete (via Ross University School of Medicine).

After medical school, surgeons must complete a surgical residency, a supervised training program typically lasting five to seven years, depending on their area of practice, according to Ross University School of Medicine.

What formal education do surgeons need?

Another way to determine if a surgeon is experienced in a particular procedure is to check if they're board-certified in their speciality, whether plastic surgery or heart surgery. Although it's not a requirement, board certification demonstrates their professionalism and rigorous training, per the American Board of Surgery. You can check if a surgeon is board-certified by looking for the letters "FACS" after their name, which stands for Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (via the American College of Surgeons). The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) advises researching professional reprimands to understand if the surgeon has been sanctioned by any licensing boards.

Once your research is complete, the AARP further advises shortlisting the candidates' ratings and meeting with the surgeons to ask vital questions, such as: 

"How many successful surgeries have you undertaken?"

"Is it an open surgery or a minimally invasive one?"

"What are the complication rates?"

What are the main risks and complications"

According to the Advanced Surgical Hospital, it's also vital to know the infection rate in the hospital. Such information is sometimes available online.

Overall, becoming a surgeon requires a significant investment of time and effort. It can take many years of education and training to become a fully qualified surgeon. However, the knowledge and skills that surgeons gain during this process are essential for providing high-quality medical care to patients.