Now that your doctor has recommended you undergo meningioma brain tumor surgery, you need to find a surgeon who can not only perform your procedure but who also makes you feel comfortable with your upcoming treatment. The following information will help you understand where to look for a surgeon, what to look for and what questions to ask to find the right doctor for you.
Where to Begin
While there are many ways to go about finding a surgeon to perform your meningioma brain tumor surgery, these are three helpful resources you should look into first: referrals from those close to you, online reviews and testimonials and referrals from professionals.
Begin by asking people whose opinions you trust if they have experience with any brain tumor surgeons in the area. Good people to ask include friends, family and support group members. Though they may not have direct experience, they may know a “friend of a friend” to whom you can reach out.
Another great way to find a surgeon is to search online. Read through patient reviews and testimonials, keeping your eyes open for any red flags that might indicate the surgeon is not a good fit. Keep in mind that practice websites tend to post testimonials that are positive in nature, while sites like Vitals.com and Healthgrades.com offer user-driven reviews that are typically more impartial.
Finally, a great jumping-off point may be a referral from your physician or insurance company. Your doctor may recommend a particular surgeon regularly and your insurance company will likely have a list of surgeons who perform meningioma brain tumor surgery in your area.
Consider the Doctor’s Qualifications
A doctor who is a neurosurgeon doesn’t necessarily have experience with meningioma brain tumor surgery. As you read patient reviews and testimonials, take note of what procedures people mention. You can also look at the practice’s website to see if it discusses the doctor’s experience and area of focus.
You should also consider which qualities you find important in your surgeon and watch for keywords as you read reviews and testimonials. To stay focused, it can be helpful to make a list before you begin your search. Potential qualities include:
Looking specifically for qualities that matter to you will help you narrow down your search. Sifting through online reviews can be overwhelming and having a focused list of valuable traits will help streamline the process.
Consider Available Patient Resources
In addition to looking at characteristics of the surgeon, spend a little time learning about the practice. Some practices offer more patient resources than others – perks here and there that can make your treatment and recovery process easier. The practice’s website and patient reviews are both good places to glean information about any available patient resources.
One specific item to consider is whether or not the practice employs a benefits specialist. A benefits specialist’s job involves helping you understand your insurance policy and exactly how your coverage will work for any procedures related to your meningioma brain tumor surgery.
It can be difficult for a layperson to navigate the insurance system, a benefits specialist who can help you avoid surprise bills following your treatment – which are never pleasant – is a huge advantage. If you find a practice that offers this patient resource, be sure to take that into consideration as you evaluate potential surgeons.
Questions to Ask
Once you find a surgeon who seems to be a good match for you and your needs, schedule a consultation to visit the practice and doctor in person. Pay attention to your first impression as you walk into the reception area. Is the practice clean? Is it friendly? Does it meet your expectations? If not, perhaps you should continue your search.
For your sit-down with the surgeon, bring a list of questions that are important to you. Think of it as an interview to see if you feel like the doctor is someone you would feel comfortable with performing your meningioma brain tumor surgery. Some questions you may ask include:
- What experience do you have with meningioma brain tumor surgery?
- What can I expect during the procedure?
- How long is the recovery period, including time off work?
- What are potential risks and side effects?
- What are the typical treatment outcomes?
Take the Time to Find the Right Practice
It’s great that you’re putting extra time and effort into finding a surgeon with whom you feel comfortable. Just because you spend time looking into a particular practice, you should not feel obligated to anything or anyone. If you visit an office and feel like it’s not a match, take a moment to consider why and move on with your search.
Taking care to find the practice that meets your needs is a great way to ensure you receive excellent care from a surgeon who can make you feel at ease through your treatment process.