How Do I Choose a Surgeon?
Ultimately, there are a few characteristics that we would recommend before choosing any surgeon:
Ability: There are often many solutions to a single medical or spine problem. It is important to choose a medical provider who at least has an understanding of several ways. For example, a spine surgeon who has not trained in motion-preserving techniques may only recommend a fusion procedure, simply because he or she isn't able to offer another treatment. Similarly, a surgeon who has only trained with open surgery may recommend against a minimally invasive one, and vice versa. You should feel comfortable to ask: "Is my surgeon able to perform the procedure that I need or just the one that he or she is comfortable offering me?"
Availability: Too often, patients report little if any interaction from their surgeon. A good medical team will be available both before and after your operation. It is important to ask: "Is my surgeon able to answer my questions, and will he or she be available after my surgery?"
Conflict of Interest: We all hope that it is rare for any provider to knowingly recommend something that is not the best care for a patient because of the surgeon's conflict of interest. Unfortunately, we are all subject to subconscious bias from outside sources. For this reason, Dr. Bjerke does not obtain royalties, hold any investments, or receive consultation fees from any medical device company. He strongly believes that commercial bias may negatively affect the way patients are cared for, even if that bias is subconscious.
Trust: Asking someone to provide your medical care necessarily involves a great degree of trust. At some point, you will place your trust in your surgeon to do what is in your best interest when you are under anesthesia. For any provider, and especially your surgeon, it is important to ask: "Do I trust him or her to do what is in my best interest at all times?"