If you need to have surgery on your knee, it is a good idea to meet with several knee surgeons beforehand so that you can carefully select the one who you feel most confident around. You can learn a lot during these meetings — what approach each surgeon will take, what you can expect in the months to follow, and what complications you should be aware of. In order to get the most out of these meetings, however, it's important to ask the right questions. Here are a few questions you should ask.
1. What specific type of surgery does the surgeon recommend?
A knee surgeon should be able to look over your X-rays and health history and then recommend a specific surgical procedure that is best for you. But different surgeons may look at your info and have somewhat different recommendations based on their own skill and experience. One surgeon might look at your X-rays, remember doing a full knee replacement on someone else with very similar X-rays and recommend that you go the same route. A different surgeon may think a more conservative partial knee replacement is in order. Listen carefully to the approach each surgeon recommends and why they recommend it. Which one resonates the most with you and your expectations?
2. What are the expected outcomes?
Not every knee surgery restores function 100%. You should ask each surgeon what they expect the outcome to be from the specific surgical approach they recommend. Maybe one surgeon expects you to regain 90% range of motion from a full knee replacement, but another surgeon expects you to regain 75% from cartilage reconstruction. By getting a better idea of what you can expect after each procedure, you can better do a better job of comparing and contrasting various options.
3. What will the follow-up be?
Some knee surgeons will only follow up with you to a certain point, and then they will fully turn you over to a physical therapist for the rest of your recovery. Others will work more closely with your physical therapist, monitoring your progress for a year or more. Neither approach is wrong; it mostly depends on what you want and are more comfortable with.
If you ask these three questions of each knee surgeon you meet, you should be off to a pretty good start as far as finding the right surgeon for you. Other questions will likely come to your mind as your surgeon starts talking; don't hesitate to ask them. Look for a knee surgeon near you.