Having made the decision to have your hip replacement done privately, your next step is to find a hip replacement surgeon. If you are elderly, with a wide social group, then you may be able to rely solely on personal recommendations. Using first-hand accounts of the treatment you will have is the ideal way to make your choice. If you do not know of anyone who has recently had hip replacement surgery, you will need to do a little research of your own.
Where to look for a hip replacement surgeon
Your local hospital, your GP, your local Primary Care Trust and even your medical insurance company, if you have one, will also be able to suggest local hip replacement surgeons. You can also use the internet. Even if you don’t have this at home, every public library now provides free access and staff there will help you with the basics of using a computer and the web. A simple web search is a good starting point, as this will help you find all the private hip replacement surgeons working in your area. From this you can draw up a short list.
Next, it is vital that you check the credentials of all the surgeons you have identified, making sure that they are listed with the General Medical Council and the Royal College of Surgeons. You should also make sure that they are orthopaedic surgeons and preferably specialist hip replacement surgeons.
Finally you should filter your list again, eliminating hip replacement surgeons who work in private hospitals too far away from your home. Remember you could be in hospital for up to 2 weeks and you don’t want to be so far away you don’t get any visitors. Once you have your shortlist, you should make appointments with several different hip replacement surgeons to discuss your operation.
Questions to ask your hip replacement surgeon
When you meet with a potential hip replacement surgeon, it is important to ask the right questions and get answers you feel happy with. Here are some examples of what to ask:
How many similar operations has the hip replacement surgeon performed and what is their success rate?
Where else do they work, and will your operation be performed on a dedicated day, or after a shift elsewhere such as the local NHS hospital?
What are the risks associated with the surgery and what will they do to mitigate these risks?
If you are not happy with any of the answers, or feel that the hip replacement surgeon is not right for you for any reason, then move on to the next on your list. You should always feel comfortable that your surgeon understands your personal circumstances and has taken the time to explain everything to your full satisfaction. A hip replacement surgeon who rushes his consultations will not leave you feeling very confident for your operation.
Your money, your choice
Remember, one of the biggest advantages of being a private patient is the right to choose your hip replacement surgeon. Choosing carefully and making sure you pick someone you feel you can trust completely can make all the difference to your surgery and recovery experience.