Orthopedic surgeons treat conditions and injuries that affect the musculoskeletal system, which means that a wide range of patients seek their services when they have exhausted conservative treatments. As a vibrant metropolitan area in the third-largest state in the U.S., Tampa, Florida, is home to millions of people, including one of the most active retirement-age populations in the world. Tampa is also a premier medical destination, due to the great weather, beautiful scenery and the high concentration of orthopedic surgeons practicing here.
Whether you are a resident or traveling from out-of-town, if you are seeking a Tampa orthopedic surgeon, it’s important to know what to look for. We’re happy to share the following informative guide to help you find the right orthopedic surgeon who you can work with to achieve lasting relief and a return to a healthy and active lifestyle.
Tampa Orthopedic Surgeons Have Top Credentials
The Tampa Bay area is home to some of the most experienced and credentialed orthopedic surgeons in the country, but just like anywhere, there is still a range of backgrounds and experience levels. When researching Tampa orthopedic surgeons yourself, or following up on a recommendation yourself, always check to make sure they are:
- Educated at an accredited medical school — Like other physicians, orthopedic surgeons must receive a medical degree from an accredited medical school. This should be followed by a residency at a relevant medical institution, for aspiring orthopedic surgeons, this residency is typically a minimum of five years.
- Fellowship trained — After completing their residency, orthopedic surgeons increase their expertise and hone their skills beyond residency level by completing a surgical fellowship. Fellowship training at a prestigious or highly recognized institution is as important, if not more important, than the medical school and residency he or she attended and completed.
- Board certified — Receiving a certification from a professional surgical board is not a requirement to practice, but it is one of the most positive indicators that a surgeon is committed to achieving the highest level of care in his or her chosen specialty. Orthopedic surgeons become board certified by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).
- Licensed to practice in Florida — To practice in Tampa, orthopedic surgeons need a current medical license from the Florida Board of Medicine and must pass all required national licensing exams.
- EXPERIENCE– Experience is a two edged sword. Years of practicing medicine provides experience, helps increase surgical efficiency, decrease surgical times, improve outcomes….provided the surgeon continues to grow and evolve as a provider and not remain stagnant as a professional.
Make sure your orthopedic surgeon specializes in a relevant field for your injury or condition
There are a wide range of subspecialties within orthopedic surgery. For instance, many surgeons primarily perform hip and knee operations while others focus on the spine. Others may deal largely with foot and ankle joint conditions, while still other orthopedic surgeons have a background in sports medicine to treat athletes, and others treat hand ailments.
When seeking out an orthopedic surgeon in Tampa, try to get an idea for their area of focus or expertise. For example, if you have been diagnosed with arthritis of the hips or knees and are dealing with severe joint damage, an orthopedic surgeon with a focus on hip and knee replacements may be right for you.
Top surgeons can have more than one area of expertise, but don’t be afraid to ask how long he or she has been performing the procedure being recommended. Experience matters, and it should be an important part of making this critical treatment decision.
Tampa Orthopedic Surgeons Should Be Committed to Personalized Care
The so-called “intangibles” should also never be overlooked, whether you are choosing a surgeon in Tampa or anywhere else. Undergoing surgery is a big decision, and it can be a little scary, which is why it is so important to trust your prospective surgeon.
Research the orthopedic surgeon and the practice to get a good cross section of the reputation, but also trust your basic instincts. From the clinic to the surgery center, any facility should put the comfort and safety of patients above all. The entire staff, including assistants, nurses and the surgeon, should always be friendly and make eye contact.
Patient education is extremely important to the process of orthopedic surgery. Before performing an operation, surgeons should take an active role in making sure the patient understands their condition, has fully explored other treatment options and is confident and informed about the recommended procedure.
The recovery process for any orthopedic procedure is essential to a positive outcome as well, and patients should always ensure that a thorough recovery and rehabilitation is in place and take a proactive approach to this key phase.
OJRCA — Your Tampa Orthopedic Practice
At Outpatient Joint Replacement Center of America, Philip J Clifford MD, AAHKS, AAOS, and his entire team are committed to delivering the highest level of orthopedic care for patients with severe joint damage. Dr. Clifford is board-certified by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons as well as fellowship trained at the renowned Duke University Medical Center, where he also completed his residency. At OJRCA, the approach to patient care is simple: treat patients like family.
To learn more about our treatment options and outpatient approaches to joint replacement surgery, contact us today.