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What Makes a Great Surgeon?

Anyone considering surgery has an important decision to make. That decision should be the right one. Surgery should be a great experience because it will start you on the road to recovery. It will mean the alleviation of pain, discomfort, or inability to perform something you probably did routinely. Surgeons do not suggest surgery routinely; they do it as a matter of last resort when all conservative care has failed to work.
They do it because they want it to work; they want to help. You as their patient are the beneficiary of their clinical wisdom and experience.
So when considering a decision about your surgery here are a few things to keep in mind to help you understand what will make your experience the one you desire.

  • A great surgeon has a focused practice: he has dedicated himself to the same specialty for his entire clinical and professional life
  • He has received great coaching and probably been a great coach himself: he has years of experience teaching other surgeons who are beginning
  • He has continued training and practicing to stay on top of all new advances and techniques: education never ends
  • A great surgeon makes it a point to communicate directly with all his surgical patients: they know he will answer all their questions and concerns
  • A surgeon with great bedside manner will almost always provide great clinical and surgical care: it’s usually a sign that the physician is “dialed” in to his patient
  • Science, education, and skills make a better surgeon: a doctor who has faith in who he is and what he does and connects to his patients will make a great surgeon
  • A great surgeon is someone who has taken the time to hire a qualified and caring staff; always a reflection of his own professionalism
  • A great surgeon has many years of experience doing the very surgery you are considering; he has done it many times with the track record and satisfied patients to give testimonial
  • A great surgeon is Board Certified in his specialty: he has taken the time, done the research, and stayed current with the clinical aspects of his specialty so that he can better serve his patients

Vladimir Horowitz (the great concert violinist) once said that the only reason he is as good as he is, is because he practices daily or performs daily. If he skips one day, he notices it. If he skips two days, his wife notices it. If he skips three days, the world notices it.

It’s true for athletes, it’s true for tailors, for drivers or for anyone engaged in something that they do for their professional life. Practice makes perfect or close to it. Choose your surgeon with thought, with care, with knowledge and with all the instinct you have that “you are in the right hands”.

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