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How to pick a Great Orthopedist

I recently talked to friend of mine about choosing a surgeon for his upcoming total hip replacement.  Which doctor is best to perform his hip replacement?  Often we choose surgeons based on a vague reputation or advice of a friend.   A true gauge is hard to come by.  Here are a few words of advice:

  • Physical therapists, athletic trainers, internists and nurses are a great source of information..   These professionals have seen a number of cases from a particular physician and can therefore make a much more informed opinion.
  • In order to acquire certain base of skills, a surgeon should have at least 5 years of experience. According to other surgeons, the skill set increases significantly after that period of time.
  • Be careful about picking a surgery that is the latest, most current surgery.  Even well respected surgeons have a learning curve upon starting a “new” surgical procedure.  It is like getting the first model year of a car.  The problems or “bugs” have not been worked out and/or the technique has not had a chance to be refined.
  • Pick a surgeon who does a lot of one procedure or chooses to specialize in a specific area.  A really simple surgery can be botched  by a surgeon who has not performed a lot of a particular procedure.
  • Check their background through some of these sources:  American Medical Association, State Board, or Google and see what comes up in a search.
  • Don’t be misled by a good or bad referral from a single patient.  We want recommendations from several patients who have had good results rather than just one satisfied customer.
  • Get a 2nd or 3rd opinion.  I have a telling story which I’ll spell out in my next blog about the value of second opinions!

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Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann

Tom Willemann is a premier physical therapist based out of Bergen County, New Jersey. He holds an MS in physical therapy from the University of Miami, is credentialed in the world-renowned McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT), and holds an OCS (Orthopedic Clinical Specialist) certification. As of 2018, there are approximately 14,000 ABPTS certified specialists in the nation and less than 400 of them are located in the state of New Jersey. Tom is the owner and director of Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation in Paramus. He opened the clinic, which specializes in spine and sports injury prevention, in 2004 after many years of experience in the field. Tom’s caring interest in others and his strong belief in continuity of care, combined with his clinic’s ability to find solutions for the most difficult orthopedic problems, have earned Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation its excellent reputation with patients and medical professionals in northeastern New Jersey and beyond. A true “family man,” Tom takes pride in his clinic’s warm and welcoming environment.
Tom Willemann

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