Epilepsy Talk

A Chief of Surgery Offers Insider Tips to Finding the Right Surgeon | January 20, 2015

From The Huffington Post:

On Sunday morning, my neighbor Carolyn knocked on my front door holding a basket of carbs and said, “I need to have my gallbladder out. I’ve never had an operation and have no idea how to find a surgeon to do my surgery. I don’t want to die. I brought you some scones.”

Carolyn brings up a valid point — if you’ve been blessed with reasonably good health, you probably don’t have a surgeon’s number on speed dial. Therefore, the bigger question is, in the unfortunate event that you need one, how do you find the best surgeon for your medical condition?

Even routine operations have risks

Straightforward surgeries like gallbladder removal or hernia repair can result in occasional complications so it pays to choose your surgeon with care. But other than asking the doctor who recommended the surgery and running down the list of surgeons on your insurance plan, how do you narrow down the list?

I decided to go directly to the source and consulted with board-certified general surgeon Dr. Amit Kharod, chief of the Department of Surgery at CentraState Medical Center in Freehold, New Jersey for his recommendations.

“You are looking for a highly-skilled service provider with whom you are entrusting your life,” Dr. Kharod says. “Take the time to perform proper due diligence so you will be comfortable with the caliber and quality of the surgeon you choose.”

The doctor went on to outline tips for finding the right surgeon to meet your specific needs:

Ask hundreds of people in five seconds

With a click of the “send” key, you can electronically reach out to friends, colleagues, neighbors and their friends for feedback and recommendations. The message you send can be as personal or indirect as you wish — but social networking should uncover some solid leads.

Nurses are in the know

Medical office and hospital-based nurses get feedback from patients and colleagues about different surgeons day in and day out. If there aren’t any nurses in your social network, call your hospital of choice and ask the nursing director who she would chose if a loved one needed your type of operation.

Confirm these key credentials

Ascertain that the surgeon is board-certified or board-eligible in his or her specialty by visiting the American Board of Medical Specialties and the Federation of State Medical Boards to make sure he or she is licensed in your state.

Can the surgeon perform your operation laparoscopically?

Some, but not all, surgeons have undergone advanced training to perform many different procedures laparoscopically using state-of-the-art tools and technology, such as robotics. This can mean significantly less pain and faster recovery for you.

How often and how many times has the doctor performed your surgery?

You want to see that the surgeon is actively performing this operation with consistently successful outcomes. This can be especially important for procedures which are new or uncommon. Over time, many surgeons tend to perform the certain surgeries with regularity and have dealt with complications before.

Interview your top candidates

Ideally, meet with your potential surgeon/s in person or at least have a phone conversation. See how quickly you can get on his surgical calendar, also. Use this time to pose your key questions and concerns. Remember, you are purchasing an expensive service from the surgeon, not making a new friend.

After you’ve chosen a surgeon

Carolyn took Dr. Kharod’s advice and discovered a great surgeon who had operated on her husband’s colleague and was on staff at her preferred hospital. I reminded her to call the doctor’s medical insurance administrator and re-confirm that the doctor, the anesthesiologist and the hospital accepts Carolyn’s insurance.

Patients who feel confident in their choice of surgeon should feel more at ease before the operation, which is important. Studies conducted on pre-operative patients show that those with higher stress levels at the time of surgery can take as much as 25 percent longer to recover.

Dr. Kharod also advises people not to hesitate to ask doctors for references. “A good surgeon maintains a roster of satisfied patients who are willing to speak about their experiences under his care. Believe me, if I needed surgery, I would be doing the same thing.”

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Huffington Post



  1. Hellll Ya, “Even routine operations have risks”

    For me, when they took out my baseball size tumor, i asked the surgeon how many surgeries like mine has she done, she said over 100, that really helped me calmed down and i knew i was in good hands. Plus she was pretty, so i was in very good hands.

    Another thing i’d like to say is that in major surgeries there is more then one surgeon around, in my case there were like 2-3 surgeons assisting.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Zolt — January 20, 2015 @ 6:07 PM

  2. Pretty goes a long way. I remember the last thing I said to my famous surgeon was how pretty she was. (She was. Or was it the drugs?)

    Anyway, everything was ducky until the resident sewed me up. OOOOPPPs

    I got an infection and had grape jelly spurting out of my middle. Obviously an infection. And a mess.

    The resident was reprimanded and I have a scar from stem to stern. 😦


    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — January 21, 2015 @ 9:29 AM

  3. many drs we have had , either retired / or even move out of state .. lost one great dr IM , of course sent us a letter , stating this , plus had 2 drs taking her place , one was going downtown other would be same place , met him long time ago , even Googled both names ,

    See every state does this gives rating from 1-5 stars .. gives place where they worked at ..both my dr who retired & out new primary dr both had 5 stars , the young lady , just graduated .. so no rating yet .. even our new dr explain in layman’s term , and DRAWS on the white board yes keeper for my husband & myself ..

    even did this with my sons ( VA hospital & Clinic } drs his primary , heart & Neuro, heart drs both are 4.5 – 5 stars .. where as primary dr . received 1/2 star , complaints too . even did my BIL where he goes to different clinic / hospital , so true his too rec’d one star .. even asking me to find a dr for him , told him i can advise him to look online , or call social services , { knew how to do this , for longest time guess finding a dr is like looking for a job . i need & also checked on my lung dr , and another dr for my hernia , yeah doubt that will be on my lists , while with my lung , they see a spot , glassy nodule, that hasnt grown . been going on for 6 yrs . not cancerous }

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Cathy Flowers — November 28, 2021 @ 11:02 AM

    • Smart lady, you’re on your toes.

      Sounds like your new doc is a dream!

      We usually research our doctors, too. And always prepare questions and concerns in advance, all typewritten, so the doctor can read them and keep them in our charts.

      Also, we go together to appointments, so one can digest everything, while the other takes notes.

      When I recently broke my foot, the designated bone was obscure and had an unfamiliar name.

      So, Arthur, on the spot, got out his iPad, did a minute of research (the orthopedist had to spell the name of the bone) and came back with his questions.

      It’s a great system and Arthur is a terrific advocate. I’m very, very lucky.


      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — November 28, 2021 @ 11:18 AM

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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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