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6 Tips for Choosing a General Surgeon

6 Tips for Choosing a General Surgeon

Finding out that you need to consult a general surgeon about your medical condition can feel like a formidable task: If surgical treatment is the right way to improve or restore your health, you want to know you’re in the best hands possible. 

Board-certified general surgeon in Glendale, Arizona — Johnny L. Serrano, DO, FACOS — offers a few helpful tips to help you choose a general surgeon who matches your needs and exceeds your expectations.

1. Gather an initial list of referrals

It’s always helpful to start by gathering a list of referrals from your primary care doctor or specialist. Ask your physician if they recommend one or two general surgeons in particular; any details they can provide may be useful in assisting your decision-making process. 

It can also be beneficial to ask your family, friends, and colleagues for general surgeon recommendations, and add those names to your list. Pay special attention to anyone who says they had a negative experience with a local general surgeon, and find out why.

2. Find surgeons who accept your insurance

Call or email your health insurance provider to request a list of general surgeons that accept your insurance. If you live in a more rural area with limited options, request a list of covered surgeons in your nearest large city. These lists may be readily available online. 

Combine your provider’s list with your list of referrals, noting which names (if any) appear on both lists. Even if you don’t wind up going with one of the surgeons who participates in your health care plan, it’s helpful to know which surgeons make the most of your benefits for the least out-of-pocket cost. 

3. Research each surgeon’s credentials

When choosing a surgeon, board certification should be one of your primary considerations. A board-certified general surgeon has undergone extensive additional training and proven a high level of expertise in their area of specialty, making them better qualified to provide health care in general surgery. 

Fellowship training involving the specific type of surgery you need is also extremely valuable. In addition to being board certified by the American Board of Surgery and fellowship trained by the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons (FACOS), Dr. Serrano remains at the forefront of his field as one of the first accredited pioneering general surgeons in Robotics and robotic-assisted surgery. 

4. Look for a “super specialist” 

All surgeons start their training in general surgery. While some go on to specialize in a very specific discipline like knee replacement surgery, spine surgery, or facial plastic surgery, many remain in the realm of general surgery and specialize within that realm.

General surgeons are highly skilled specialists who can perform a full scope of common procedures, ranging from breast surgery, colon resection, and hernia repair to appendix, spleen, gallbladder, cyst, and lipoma removal.

Still, the more experience a general surgeon has with a particular procedure, the better the outcome for that procedure. Knowing a surgeon’s specific areas of expertise can help you narrow your selection down to a short list of providers who routinely perform the operation you need.

5. Interview your short list of surgeons 

Once you have your short list of potential surgeons, schedule a consultation with each one. You want to choose someone who makes you feel comfortable and at ease, answers your questions in ways you can understand, and is confident in their expertise and abilities.

General surgeons don’t only perform operations and provide comprehensive care before, during, and after surgery; when applicable, they also explain your treatment options and help guide you through the decision-making process so you can determine the best approach for your health and personal situation.

When all is said and done, you want to work with a general surgeon who shows an interest in getting to know you, respects your decision-making process, and considers your treatment preferences.

6. Check their hospital affiliations 

Your surgeon’s hospital is your hospital, and choosing a well-equipped, modern surgical facility is nearly as important as choosing an excellent surgeon. Hospital and outpatient surgery center quality matters because patients at top-rated facilities tend to have fewer complications and better outcomes.

For this reason, you should always consider the quality of care at the hospital or surgical center where your general surgeon is affiliated (where they perform procedures and provide care). This aspect of care is also incredibly important to Dr. Serrano, whose multiple affiliations include top-rated hospitals and surgical centers in Glendale and Phoenix, Arizona.

If you’re looking for a highly skilled and experienced general surgeon, our team at Precision Surgery and Advanced Vein Therapy can help. Call 623-321-5663 or use our easy online booking feature to schedule a visit today. 

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