How to choose your joint replacement surgeonWhen you’re considering joint replacement, it is important to choose the best surgeon for the job. So how do you go about this? You will first want to read around the procedure so that you fully understand what you’re signing up for, and then you’ll want to start researching where you can have the operation and exactly who will be responsible for undertaking it.

Look at the surgeon’s qualifications and professional memberships

Orthopaedic surgeons in the UK will have undergone full medical training and then an additional 4 to 5 years residency programme in an orthopaedic surgery. After this lengthy training period they will qualify as a junior orthopaedic surgeon and will begin practicing. Some surgeons will choose a subspecialty which they will focus on, and this will require a further one to two years training.

Obtaining membership of professional associations

Many professionals will also choose to join relevant professional membership organisations. Many will join these while studying and hold membership of different grades throughout their career.

Mr Bridle holds membership of two professional associations for joint replacement specialists, the British Hip Society and the British Orthopaedic Association. The British Hip Society promotes training, education and research to ensure the very best care for patients who are experiencing hip related conditions. Similarly, the British Orthopaedic Association offers care for patients and support for trauma and orthopaedic surgeons in the UK.

Membership organisations such as these offer services such as training, support and continued professional development (CPD). They also regulate their members to ensure a high quality of service provision. Orthopaedic surgeons such as Mr Bridle will typically list their professional memberships on their website, so when you’re researching surgeons, look out for the logos and feel free to look up the organisations to read more about what is expected and required of their members.

National Joint Registry

All hip and knee replacements in England are now recorded in this registry (the NJR). This allows analysis of how well different types of joint replacement and individual surgeons are performing. An individual surgeon report is published on an annual basis, to include the number of procedures performed, the type of implants used and some results. The surgeon is provided with an even more detailed analysis, to indicate how well patients are doing, to help them improve their practice. This represents an extremely important set of data to help improve quality.

Ready to book a joint replacement consultation?

Once you have done your research and think you’ve found a surgeon you are comfortable with, the next step is to book a consultation. This is an important opportunity to meet with the surgeon, get to know and to talk in detail about what is troubling you and what you would like to achieve. This is a great chance to ask all the questions you may have, so it is advisable to write a list so that you don’t forget anything important.

To give you an indication of the types of questions you might consider asking, these are some of the things patients will typically ask at a consultation:

  • How long have you been practicing for?
  • How many times have you performed the operation I am interested in?
  • Can I speak to any patients you have operated on previously?
  • What is your personal complication rate for procedures of this type
  • What options do I have for this procedure and which is best for me? And why?
  • How long will the operation take?
  • How long is the recovery process and what can I expect during this time?
  • When will I be able to go back to work?
  • When will I be able to drive?

For more information, or to book a consultation with London joint replacement specialist Simon Bridle, please contact us.