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 Check a surgeons quality by making sure they are board certified in the relevant specialty field.

 Remember no one physician/surgeon will master every condition or surgical procedure in their specialty field, therefore finding their "special interest/expertise" of area is important. A general rule of thumb is usually between 2-5 conditions/surgical procedures they will master.

  Contact via Website/phone the hospital where the surgeon performs surgery. Remember
Hospitals can be known to inflate a doctors credentials.

 Research your surgeons Residency, Fellowship (if any), and other training, and match
these up with their current specialty field.

 Check to see if your surgeon is also a clinical instructor, teacher-professor-of any kind.

 Occasionally surgeons are affiliated with various medical societies (the more the better).

 Contact the fsmb for "disciplinary action(s) or sanction(s)" issued nationwide information.

 A surgeons quality rating can be measured differently, however checking their training, education,
community involvement, licensure status, board certification, specialty expertise area, recognition, teaching responsibilities, and experience are critical factors in finding the best surgeons.

Review Cost of Surgery

Tips on how to check a surgeons quality?
Board Certifications
Membership Organizations
Hospital Affiliations
Academic History
Disciplinary Reports

What does it mean for a doctor to be board certified?

A board certified physician has completed an approved educational training program and an evaluation process including an examination designed to assess the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to provide quality patient care in that specialty.

24 Specialty Boards

Some specialty fields listed below.

Allergy & Immunology Anesthesiology Colon & Rectal Surgery
Dermatology Emergency Medicine Family Practice
Internal Medicine Medical Genetics Neurological Surgery
Nuclear Medicine Obstetrics & Gynecology Ophthalmology
Orthopaedic Surgery Otolaryngology Pathology
Pediatrics Physical Medicine & Rehab Plastic Surgery
Preventive Medicine Psychiatry & Neurology Radiology
Surgery Urology Thoracic Surgery

Membership Organizations

Membership Affiliations

Membership Organizations of physicians involved in a given field of practice. Specialty societies represent the interests of practitioners. In most specialty societies it is necessary to be board certified to be eligible for membership.

Hospital Affiliations

Information about a doctor's hospital affiliations will tell you if the doctor has privileges at a particular hospital and also serves to attest to his/her credentials. It is recommended that your primary care doctor have privileges where your surgeon does so that the primary doctor can manage your general care following a surgical admission.

Academic History


Physicians attain Fellowship status in a specialty society when they demonstrate outstanding achievement in their profession. Typical criteria for fellowship in a specialty society include years of membership, years as a practitioner in the specialty and professional recognition by peers. A period of training, usually 1-2 years, which occurs after completion of a general or primary residency. Its goal is to qualify a physician as a subspecialist in an area of medical practice such as cardiology, hand surgery, etc.


A variable period of postgraduate education and training (3- 7 years), based upon the specialty selected, in which a physician participates with the expectation of becoming a specialist in a field of medical practice. These educational experiences occur in a variety of settings including hospitals, clinics, offices and other relevant medical educational centers.

The process by which most medical students obtain an appointment for their postgraduate training. The matching process is performed by independent agencies such as the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP). The NRMP receives rank order preferences from students and training institutions and "matches" them by computer according to the highest ranked match. Residency information is available from medical schools, training programs, The AMA Directory of Graduate Medical Education Programs, hard copy and online, and the Fellowship and Residency Electronic Interactive Data Access (FREIDA) service of the AMA.


The old term used to describe the first year of postgraduate training following graduation from medical school. Physicians participating in this training were formerly called interns but are now known as Postgraduate Year 1 (PGY-1) residents and the year is called the PGY-1 year. It is usually taken under the sponsorship of a single clinical department.


Specialty and Subspecialty

A subspecialist is a physician who has completed training in a general medical specialty and then takes additional training in a more specific area of that specialty called a subspecialty. This training increases the depth of knowledge and expertise of the specialist in that particular field. For example, child and adolescent psychiatry is a subspecialty of psychiatry, pediatric surgery is a subspecialty of surgery, and cardiology is a subspecialty of internal medicine and pediatrics. The training of a subspecialist within a specialty requires an additional one or more years of full-time education.

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