THR Looking for an excellent surgeon

Natsfan

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Hello, I wanted to know if anyone knows much about the validity of sites that address patient outcomes (deaths and readmission). Specifically Consumer Checkbook surgeon ratings and Propublica surgeon scorecard. The data in both sites is several years old but they claim this is the best way to measure the skill of a surgeon. On Propublica they rate hip and knee outcomes separately . Some do well with one but not the other which is interesting,
I've found many highly recommended surgeons with average or poor ratings on both sites, which is disconcerting. In Checkbook, not one surgeon at HSS in NYC has better than an average rating. Wow! And some surgeons score well on one site but not the other. I'm trying to decide how much consideration I should give to these sites when choosing a surgeon. I would appreciate any insight.

A little background on my situation- I live in the Washington DC area. I had a left THR in 2015 but still have moderate pain in the groin and hip area. Since then I've seen multiple doctors in the DC area and at HSS and have received differing opinions on the cause. One doc at HSS is convinced it's due to a defective tritanium cup, while others suspect it's a spine issue causing my hip pain. I'm in the process of getting procedures to identify the cause but not yet close to finding an answer. My right hip is also in need of a replacement, and I want to make sure I find the best surgeon to fix that one. I'm a little gun shy after the first one not going great so I want to do my due diligence. I also don't want to overthink this and keep searching for the perfect doctor. Bottom line is I'm looking for an excellent doctor that does posterior approach. Thanks much.
 

Jaycey

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@Natsfan Welcome to BoneSmart! I can't really comment on the patient outcome sites in the US as I am in the UK.

But key to finding a surgeon is how easily you can discuss your needs with them and how many procedures they do per year. You should feel comfortable asking about their experience level. Most surgeons don't have any problem answering this question.

We keep a database of surgeons recommended by our members and staff. Here are two in the DC area:

Dr. Stuart Melvin III
2021 K St. NW, Suite 516
Washington, DC 20006
Phone: 202-833-1147
Hip and knee primary and revision

Dr Sridhar Durbhakula - Hip & Knee Specialist | OrthoBethesda
Dr Sridhar Durbhakula is a Hip & Knee Specialist at OrthoBethesda focusing in treating hip & knee osteoarthritis, joint replacement, and complex knee and hip revision.

You can also try our Surgeon Locator in the blue bar at the top of any page.
 

zauberflöte

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@Natsfan are we still basking in our World Series win? :heehee:

All I know about the Propublica is that it rated my OS about where I expected, but undercounts his THR's by almost a factor of 15. He was in the news about 5 years ago for having hit 10,000!
 
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Natsfan

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Of course we are :)

You should see how he did on Checkbook. About the only DC area surgeon that I saw ranked favorably on both sites was Anthony Unger. He does anterior. I was looking for posterior. Thanks for posting back.
 

zauberflöte

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Heh. He did rank about the same from a cursory reading of it. This guy is in Hampton Roads, and while we'd moved between hips, I chose him again. Partly because of the hospital-- they gave him an entire dedicated unit for himself! The hospital was ranked well on Propublica too. The nursing was stellar both times. Met my first "travelling nurse" in 2013. He was one of the most fun nurses I've ever had.

Full disclosure-- I don't think I heard of Propublica until after my first hip. FWIW:)
 
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Natsfan

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i actually just ran across propublica a few weeks ago. I'm glad yours both turned out good. Even though hips are routine surgeries you can't take anything for granted. Take care.
 

Going4fun

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No, those ratings aren't perfect in any sense. I ran into the problem you're identifying. I just don't think you can make the final choice based on ratings ... Look for someone who gets some really good ratings ... and I think you just have to go and meet the person and see who you trust.

I get why you're gun-shy, but I'm afraid there is no way to decide on a surgery--and pick a surgeon--that is "beyond a reasonable doubt." What happened to you with the first surgery was likely just random bad luck. Hopefully you can get that fixed. There are ten doctors at HSS that I'd quickly recommend to anyone. But I think you have to go meet them and feel them out (pick three or four people to talk to).

Unfortunately you just are likely to feel anxious no matter who you choose ... There are people who have great results and then come back here to talk about a second hip ... and they get fear all over again.

Hang in there. The best I can say about ratings is ... don't look for someone who uniformly gets fantastic ratings (not sure that person exists). Instead, if you want to look this way, look for people who appear on multiple lists ... My surgeon was rated relatively low (but not disastrously so) in the pro publica ratings but high in the other ratings and recommendations, including patient reviews, local magazines, Castle Connolly and so on. But when I met him, I just really liked the guy, by like, I mean I felt I could really talk to him about what was on my mind, and it was clear that he was just totally up on all the latest research in the field. About a year earlier, I met another surgeon in the same practice and felt like this person was a 1,000 miles away from me--absolutely no connection.

Very likely all the people you are focusing on are really good--so just go and meet them and see how you feel.
 
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Natsfan

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Everything you say makes sense. I definitely want to avoid paralysis by analysis.

I've met with several doctors and have gotten recommendations from people I know. The last surgeon came highly recommended and was featured on the cover of Washingtonian top doctors issue. However I don't think he did a real high volume.. I think it's key to go with someone that's done a ton of these.

I am pretty certain who I'm going with at this point. I've met with him. He does a high volume, well rated in various publications, gets good reviews, and successfully operated on a former colleague that can be pretty picky. Thanks much for your response.

On a side note I've met with two docs at HSS regarding my first replacement. They couldn't be further apart on the best course of action regarding a revision. I've learned that this stuff is not always clear cut. You need to take actions that rule out various things in order to better identify the real problem. Take care.
 

zauberflöte

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@Natsfan I agree that high volume is good. It means that they are never rusty, and have probably seen a wide range of weird stuff that a less experienced OS would be flummoxed by. Glad you've narrowed down your search-- may the next step confirm your hopes!

I have to say, my OS did not have the world's best bedside manner-- just not a warm fuzzy kinda guy-- but he made sure to hire PA's and imaging folks who were very "bedside-fluent". The trade-off was worth it.
 

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