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Choosing the Right Doctor for You

If you’ve tried medication, physical therapy and other conservative methods of treatment, and you’re still experiencing knee pain, your doctor may recommend knee arthroscopy.

Choosing the Right Doctor for You

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Choosing the Right Doctor for You    

When choosing an orthopaedic surgeon, keep the following things in mind: 

  • Orthopaedic surgeons are medical doctors or osteopaths with an MD or DO degree who have completed a residency in orthopaedics.
  • They should be certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgeons 
  • Many orthopaedic surgeons choose to specialize even further by taking a fellowship, which usually lasts six to 12 months.

In addition to the clinical credentials, it's good to have a surgeon who has good human credentials. That means showing concern for your pain, taking time to hear your concerns, and answering your questions fully."


How to Prepare for Your Visit with a Specialist

Once you have made an appointment with a specialist, there are a few things you can do to prepare for your visit. These include reviewing your medical insurance to find out more about your coverage for knee arthroscopy surgery, and putting together a short history of your health for your doctor. 

Insurance Coverage 

Before agreeing to knee arthroscopy, check to see whether your health insurance plan offers coverage for the procedure. Contact your insurer to find out exactly what your plan covers. Most health insurance plans, including Medicare, offer coverage for it as long as a doctor orders the operation. Your insurance may cover visits to your orthopaedic surgeon prior to the arthroscopy and any diagnostic tests necessary to evaluate your condition. It may cover the surgery itself (including anesthesia), any preparations to your living space for post-surgical recovery (for example, installation of safety bars in the shower or bath) and visits to a physical therapist throughout your rehabilitation. 

Creating a History of Your Health 

Use this handy checklist to create a medical history you can bring along to doctor visits. List the following on a sheet of paper: 

  • All the medicines and supplements you take, including their dosage and frequency. 
  • Major illnesses or chronic conditions.
  • Surgeries you have had and any related complications such as reactions to anesthesia.
  • Allergies and sensitivities you have to food or medications. 
  • Your family history of diabetes, cancer or heart disease. 
  • Your lifestyle habits including smoking, alcohol intake, exercise and special diet.


Learn More About Physicians That Treat Knee Pain    

As you treat your knee pain, you will likely come into contact with a variety of different medical professionals, including Primary Care Providers, Orthopaedic Surgeons, Sports Medicine Specialists and Rheumatologists. Discover what kind of services each of them offers. 

Primary Care Providers (PCP)/Internists 

The medical professionals you see for common medical issues such as your yearly annual check-up or a non-emergency illness are referred to as Primary Care Providers (PCP) or Internists. Depending upon the type and severity of your knee pain, the PCP/Internist may refer you to a specialist such as an Orthopaedic Surgeon, a Rheumatologist or a Sports Medicine Specialist for further treatment. 

Orthopaedic Surgeons 

Medical doctors with extensive training treating injuries and conditions of the musculoskeletal system—the bones, joints and muscles in the body—are called Orthopaedic Surgeons. These specialists may recommend treatment of knee pain with physical therapy, various medications or devices, or surgical procedures including arthroscopy and joint replacement. 

Sports Medicine Specialists 

Physicians who specialize in the prevention, evaluation and treatment of injuries related to sports and exercise are called Sports Medicine Specialists. Though perceived to just treat athletes, Sports Medicine Specialists are able to treat other patients as well. These specialists may recommend treatment of knee pain with physical therapy, various medications or devices, or surgical procedures including arthroscopy and joint replacement. If it is believed surgery is needed to correct your condition, you may be referred to an orthopaedic surgeon for further evaluation. 

Rheumatologists 

Medical doctors who diagnose and treat both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as other disorders of the bones, joints, ligaments and muscles are known as Rheumatologists. Rheumatologists may recommend treatment of knee pain with medication, physical therapy or steroid injections. If it is believed surgery is needed to correct a problem, you may be referred to an orthopaedic surgeon for further evaluation.

 

References

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION 

The results of knee arthroscopy depend on age, weight, activity level and other factors. There are potential risks and recovery takes time. People with conditions limiting rehabilitation should not have this procedure. Only an orthopaedic surgeon can tell if knee arthroscopy is right for you.

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