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How to choose the right orthopedic surgeon for you


How to choose the right orthopedic surgeon for you

Whether you’ve suffered a torn knee ligament, injured your shoulder or are struggling with joint pain because of arthritis, you may find yourself seeking help from an orthopedic surgeon.
Finding the right orthopedic surgeon to treat your injury or chronic condition is important, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Often, the process starts with a referral from your primary care physician.
“We do our very best to work with every patient who comes our way, regardless of how they come to us,” says Tidelands Health orthopedic surgeon Dr. Derrek 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.”

Finding the best provider

So, how do you determine the best orthopedic surgeon for you and your condition? Dr. Woodbury says there are three primary questions to consider:

  • Does the surgeon provide the services I need?
  • Can I receive the treatment I’m seeking in a timely manner or on my preferred timeline?
  • Do the surgeon’s experience, education and bedside manner align with my needs and expectations?

Because most visits with an orthopedic surgeon typically start with a referral from another provider, Dr. Woodbury suggests asking the referring provider for recommendations. From there, you may also want to speak with family and friends to find out about their experiences with surgeons in the area and/or visit websites such as to read online reviews.

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As you are evaluating your options, it’s a good idea to consider the surgeon’s credentials and experience. One great resource to research orthopedic surgeons is the Tidelands Health website at
The site features a wealth of information about the health system’s advanced orthopedic surgery program and individual surgeons, including details about their medical training, board certifications, specialties and much more. Plus, you can learn about the organization’s comprehensive array of rehabilitative care, which is often the next step for patients following surgery.

Before your first appointment

Before you set up your first appointment with a surgeon, it’s a good idea to confirm your selected provider participates in your insurance plan and can perform your procedure on a timeline that meets your needs. At your initial appointment, you can learn about the surgeon’s communication style and personality and ask more specific questions about the provider’s qualifications and experience.

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If you don’t feel comfortable with the first provider you meet, connect with another provider, Dr. Woodbury says. Find someone whose qualifications, experience and personality are a good fit for you.
“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.
“I often tell my patients that I feel privileged to provide orthopedic care because it provides an opportunity to help patients in a very unique way. We’re not preserving life, but we’re lifestyle preserving and giving patients back their quality of life.”

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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