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What to Expect from Your Orthopedic Surgeon at Your Next Appointment

You know the importance of taking an active role in your healthcare, and that’s why you’ve scheduled an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. But you may not know one of the best ways to maximize your interaction with your surgeon: Do some prep work before your appointment. When you know what to expect, what to bring, and what to ask, you’re sure to have a good outcome.

Here’s what we’d tell our patients at DISC Sports & Spine about how to prepare and what a typical appointment will include.

What to Bring to Your Appointment

Leading up to your appointment, take the time to gather some information regarding your medical history and current injury or problem, especially if this is your first time meeting with your surgeon. You’ll want to bring the following:

  • A list of current medications and supplements
  • Medical records from previous doctors (find out if you need to sign a release for this information to be given to you or sent to your new orthopedic surgeon, so you don’t run into a delay)
  • Copies of previous imaging studies, such as X-rays or MRIs
  • A timeline of your current orthopedic problem, including how and when it started, previous treatments, and symptoms experienced
  • A list of other medical conditions and history of past surgeries or hospitalizations
  • Your photo ID and insurance card

You may also want to consider bringing a notepad and pen and/or a friend to help you remember important details after your visit.

What an Orthopedic Exam Entails

To ensure a thorough evaluation and assessment, your orthopedic visit will likely include a few components:

  • A discussion of your medical history and current problem: Remember how you made lists and brought this information with you? Now you can refer to it and feel confident that you’re providing your surgeon with accurate information.
  • A physical exam: An orthopedic surgeon treats your musculoskeletal system, including your muscles, bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments. Your surgeon may perform different tests to examine your strength, range of motion, reflexes, and pain triggers. Depending on the area of concern, you may be asked to walk, bend, stand, or move in certain ways, so your surgeon can see how your body responds.
  • Imaging studies: Even if you’ve had some done in the past, your surgeon may want to repeat certain studies to look for changes or use a different type of imaging altogether. Your history and physical exam provide a lot of important information, but medical imaging is needed to help your doctor determine what’s going on inside your body. Ideally, your orthopedic surgeon will work in a facility like DISC, where all parts of your exam take place under one roof. 

Putting all of these pieces together allows your orthopedic surgeon to formulate a treatment plan. 

What You Should Ask Your Orthopedic Surgeon

In addition to providing the time for your surgeon to develop or evaluate your treatment, your appointment is also your opportunity to ask any questions or address any concerns you may have. Write them down as they arise and bring your list with you. Important questions may include:

  • Can you explain my diagnosis?
  • What treatment do you recommend, and why?
  • If surgery is necessary, can it be done as a minimally invasive procedure?
  • What can I expect in terms of recovery and outcome?
  • What kind of training and experience have you had with treating my condition?
  • How can I manage my pain or discomfort?
  • When can I return to normal activities?

An appointment with an orthopedic surgeon requires the exchange of a lot of information in a short period of time, but when you know what to expect, you can make the most of your time. At DISC, our orthopedic surgeons will work with you to decide on your best plan of care and make sure you always know what the next step is in your treatment. Need to schedule an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon? Contact DISC to schedule a consultation. 

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About the author

discmdgroup DISC Sports and Spine Center (DISC) is one of America’s foremost providers of minimally invasive spine procedures and advanced arthroscopic techniques. Our individually picked, highly specialized physicians apply both established and innovative solutions to diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate their patients in a one-stop, multi-disciplinary setting. With a wide range of specialists under one roof, the result is an unmatched continuity of care with more efficiency, less stress for the patient, and a zero MRSA infection rate. Read more articles by discmdgroup.

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