Find an orthopedic provider near you.

5 things to know when choosing an orthopedic surgeon


5 things to know when choosing an orthopedic surgeon

If you’re in need of orthopedic care due to an injury or chronic condition, you may wonder how to choose the right provider.
Finding the best orthopedic surgeon for you is important, but it’s not necessarily difficult. Often, the process starts with a referral from your primary care physician.
“It’s worth taking the time to research different providers if you’re able,” says Tidelands Health orthopedic surgeon Dr. Derrek Woodbury, who practices at Tidelands Health Orthopedics at Georgetown. “Just be sure not to delay your care for so long that your condition gets worse.”

Orthopedic surgeons are highly trained and educated

Orthopedics is a highly specialized type of medicine that requires years of education and training. Orthopedic surgeons complete medical school, a residency and a fellowship program. Many providers also secure board certification.

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There are a variety of ways to research a provider’s background. One great resource in our area is the Tidelands Health website at
The site features a wealth of information about the health system’s advanced orthopedic surgery program and surgeons, including medical training, board certifications, specialties and much more.

Some surgeons are trained in specialized areas

Orthopedic medicine includes a variety of subspecialties. Surgeons may have advanced training in a particular area of care, such as sports medicine, specific types of joint replacement or pediatric orthopedics, for example.
Depending on your specific injury or needs, you may want to find a surgeon who specializes in the type of care you need. It’s important to remember, however, that many orthopedic conditions do not require subspeciality care.
“As orthopedic surgeons, we are all trained to identify musculoskeletal conditions or abnormal findings. regardless of specialty,” says Dr. Woodbury. “So whichever provider you go to, we can help you identify issues or problems and refer you to subspeciality care if needed.”

Verify insurance covers your care

Before you set up your first appointment, it’s a good idea to check that the surgeon participates in your health insurance plan. Also, be sure to verify that your insurance covers the care and procedures you’ll need to address your condition, including any follow-up care such as physical therapy.

Trust, communication and availability are important

The relationship between you and your orthopedic surgeon will likely be long term, so it’s important that you are able to talk openly, trust your surgeon’s care plan and be able to get the care you need in a timely manner.
Because most visits with an orthopedic surgeon typically start with a referral from another provider, Dr. Woodbury suggests asking the referring provider for their recommendations. From there, you may also want to speak with family and friends to find out about their experiences with surgeons in the area.

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Once you narrow down possible providers, it’s time to set up your first appointment, an important step in the selection process.
“It’s important to feel comfortable with your provider because often you’re starting a relationship for life,” Dr. Woodbury says. “You want to be involved with someone who listens to you and has your best interests in mind when they see you.”

Other resources to consider

In addition to assessing individual providers, you may also want to consider the quality of the hospital or other location where your procedure will be performed, as well as access to rehabilitation, pain management and other types of follow-up care you may need.

When you choose Tidelands Health for your care, you’ll benefit from the resources of our region’s largest health care provider. Tidelands Health patients have access to our region’s widest range of rehabilitation services with more than a dozen locations across the region. The not-for-profit health system also offers comprehensive pain management services at locations in Myrtle Beach, Georgetown and Murrells Inlet.
“At Tidelands Health, we do our very best to work with every patient who comes our way, regardless of how they come to us,” says Dr. Woodbury. “Our goal is to provide our patients with the best possible outcomes so they can get back to the activities they enjoy as soon as possible.”

Dr. Derrek Woodbury is a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon who practices at Tidelands Health Orthopedics at Georgetown. He is accepting new patients.

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