• Surgeon is Questionable

    Asked by Blackmama on Wednesday, May 29, 2013

    Surgeon is Questionable

    Hi all,
    I have been doing some research on my thoracic surgeon. I find that he only has 13 years experience in this area. I am somewhat troubled by this but also feel that I want to get this over with. I have a surgery date set but am thinking of canceling and looking elsewhere for someone more skilled. Any thought on this matter will be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks, Blackmama

    10 Answers from the Community

    10 answers
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      That's a tough one. Every surgeon operated on someone for the first time. His years of experience wouldn't have as large of an impact on me as his QUALITY of surgery. Has he had complaints? Been reprimanded? These are things that you can find out.

      My last surgery, a Radical Neck Disection, where they take out all the lymph nodes in the right side of my neck, with 3 malignant ones, and remove a malignant tonsil, cut away one lymph node that was attached to my shoulder muscle, (you may lose use of your right arm) then disect the lymph nodes out of my jaw, moving nerves in the process (you may have a drawn face, like a stroke) and cut a hole in my throat to remove all involved tissue around the tonsil, (you may have a feeding tube for 6 weeks), all this was done by Resident surgeons at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. And for the record, I had NONE of that happen to me.

      So I'm good with my (Doogie Howser) doctors. Do some more research and concentrate on has he done anything bad. 13 years is a veteran in many fields, I think being a Doctor is too.

      Just my 02. We wish you the best and speediest recovery ever!

      over 3 years ago
    • Peroll's Avatar

      13 years is a fair amount for a surgeon and often the younger surgeons have learned the latest techniques that some of the older surgeons have not learned. You don't say if there are other reasons for concern about the surgeon. You do need to have faith and trust with all of your Drs. Surgeons are kind of an odd lot for Drs anyhow in that you really want an surgeon that is confident in his abilities even to the point of being somewhat boastful or even arrogant. Not something that you look for in most Drs but the surgeon has to be skillful and decisive as he works and be able to quickly see and react to issues that might arise. It can sometimes be hard to get good data on how Drs perform and any data really needs to have depth (did the Dr take on more difficult cases or cherry pick for better success?) to be useful. I think you really have to use your gut feel for the Dr and have confidence in him. Hope this helps and Good Luck!!!

      over 3 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar

      I agree with the other answers. 13 years is a lot of surgeries when you think about it so I wouldn't consider him inexperienced.

      over 3 years ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar

      Granted, I'm past surgery right now. But my surgeon, who is old enough to be my dad and is head of oncology @ my hospital, is leaving the practice to focus on hospital duties, leaving me in the hands of his replacement who is completing her oncology fellowship now. She's been an OB/Gyn for awhile but just getting started w/oncology. I freaked. Until i realized that while prior dr had experience, she'll bring cutting edge. That's why we can get 2nd opinions.

      over 3 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      13 years sounds like a lot of experience. Do you have other concerns that make you describe the surgeon as "questionable?"

      over 3 years ago
    • FreeBird's Avatar

      My dad had a thoracic surgeon for his first lung cancer, who was probably in his 30's, and he was outstanding. He was a director of a program to get people into treatment as quickly as possible, and probably the reason my dad survived his first cancer. He was in practice roughly the same amount of time as your doctor.

      I would look more at reputation, check his state license, and see if he has had any insurance payouts. That by itself doesn't mean much, unless there's something obvious like multiple claims. For malpractice claims, in Florida there's the Office of Insurance Regulation that has information available. I do not know where to look for Oklahoma, but you could ask your government information office.


      There are also websites online where you can see what sort of comments and ratings people make about doctors.

      over 3 years ago
    • CAS1's Avatar

      I recently read an article that said you were more likely to be alive if you were being treated by young Dr's. because they are more up to date on new interventions.

      For me where he went to school and did his internship are important factors.

      over 3 years ago
    • MRoadrunner's Avatar

      As a matter of fact, my oncologist is a second year fellow and works directly under the Chief of Staff in that department. She is an amazing woman, and she saved my life last August. I had been evaluated in the ER where I was brought in unconscious and hallucinating...my family was told by four physicians that I would not make it past the weekend. She disagreed and found the tumor in my lung via CT scan which was pressing on my superior vena cava. My oxygen level was 52%. They put me on Bi-pap and started chemo six days later and I was discharged home in less than a week. My PCP met her at a conference over a year ago and remembered her name because he was so impressed with her. I trust her and feel that I couldn't be in better hands.

      over 3 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      I agree with the others 13 years is a great deal of experience. Remember then number of years a surgeon has been doing a procedure is only one indication, important as it is, of how good a surgeon she/he is. My breast surgeon who is fantastic was realitevly "new"

      over 3 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      Let me finish my answer, a system glitch posted it before I was don. As I was saying my Breast Surgeon was relatively new when she performed my lumpectomy, but has since gone on to win several prestigious peer awards.

      Also remember there are doctors and surgeons out there with decades of experience, but are not necessarily the best ones out there or the best one for you.

      over 3 years ago

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