Clinical research has found that patients who work closely with their doctors usually have better health outcomes. It only stands to reason that coming prepared for a doctor’s visit and taking an active role in your healthcare helps you make the most of the time spent with a physician and can ensure that you receive the best care possible. This is especially true when planning to visit a specialist.
With that in mind, here are 7 things you should do to prepare for your next visit to an orthopedic surgeon:
- Find an orthopedic doctor who specializes in your specific problem. Not all orthopedic specialists are orthopedic surgeons. Some specialize in certain conditions or focus only on specific parts of the body. Therefore, look for a doctor who is qualified to assess, diagnose, and treat your specific ailment using non-invasive methods, unless surgery is absolutely necessary.
- Make sure to provide your complete medical history. If you have already seen a doctor or another orthopedic surgeon, bring a copy of the visit notes to the new clinic. Also, bring a copy of any X-rays or MRIs that have been previously performed. This will give the orthopedic surgeon the best chance to understand the studies and treatments you have received up to this point. If the visit is for a second opinion, a copy of your records will be particularly helpful.
- Fill out any medical questionnaires or other forms before your visit. There is a great deal of medical information that must be entered into your records, especially if you are meeting with a doctor for the first time. Often, completing these forms takes time which delays you from seeing a doctor and getting the treatment you need. Have the person who schedules your appointment send you a copy of the forms in advance, complete them, and bring them to your visit.
- Compose a brief timeline of your injury/condition and the treatments you have received. Chances are, you have been experiencing pain from a musculoskeletal injury for weeks or months before you decided to consult an orthopedic surgeon. As such, you may not remember all the details of the problem, such as when and how it occurred, the treatments you have tried, whether certain activities make your pain worse, etc. Instead of trying to remember such details in the examination room, write down as much information as you can before your visit, so it is fresh in your mind.
- Make a list of any questions you may have for the doctor. You’ll no doubt have questions about your condition and available treatments, not to mention issues concerning your ability to work, return to sports or exercise, or resume normal activities, and unless you write them down, you’ll probably forget a few. You want to walk out of the doctor’s office with as much information as possible, and bringing a list of your questions will help you achieve this.
- Be open and candid with your doctor. The better you communicate with your physician, the more smoothly your treatment, recovery, and rehabilitation will be. Go over your notes on the day of your appointment, detail your main symptoms and how long you’ve had them when meeting with the doctor, and share any other relevant information. Let your doctor know what relieves your symptoms and what makes them worse. If you are addressing a chronic issue, be prepared and forthcoming about discussing your lifestyle and habits, as they may have an effect on your condition and course of treatment.
- Dress comfortably for your visit. Wear loose clothing that is easy to remove and put back on in case you need to be physically examined. Your doctor may request an X-ray during your visit. Depending on the area that is being X-rayed, you may be asked to change into a medical gown. Also, you may have to remove items such as jewelry, eyeglasses, hearing aids, and metal objects that may interfere with imaging.
Orthopedic Clinic Near You in San Antonio, Texas
At the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine, our doctors are committed to providing you with the best orthopedic care. We routinely treat and rehabilitate patients with all types of orthopedic conditions and injuries to help them enjoy the quality of life they deserve. Our goal is to provide you with as much information and support as possible in a comfortable, supportive environment.