Finding the Right Doctor for Aortic Aneurysm Repair

Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
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If you need to have surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm, you’ll want a highly qualified surgeon to perform the procedure. Cardiac surgeons, interventional cardiologists, thoracic surgeons, and vascular and interventional radiologists commonly perform aortic aneurysm repair. How do you find the best surgeon who is right for you? Here are important factors to keep in mind. 

Top Things to Look For

Find a surgeon who:

  • Is board certified and who specializes in aortic aneurysm repair
  • Has experience treating patients with your specific condition
  • Practices at a hospital known to have high-quality outcomes in aortic aneurysm repair or cardiac and vascular surgery in general 
  • Accepts your insurance
  • You are comfortable talking with and who fully answers your questions

Here are five steps to finding the best surgeon to perform your aortic aneurysm repair.

1. Ask Around

Start by creating a list of potential surgeons. Ask your family, friends, and other healthcare providers for recommendations. If you’re starting without any referrals, or you’re looking for more options, search for surgeons who perform aortic aneurysm repair on Healthgrades.com

Healthgrades.com shows patient satisfaction ratings, which give you insight into how your own experience might be with the doctor. Patients rate the doctor and the doctor’s medical practice, and say if they would recommend the doctor to family and friends.

2. Research Credentials and Experience

Take time to research the doctors’ credentials and experience. Look for a doctor who is board certified in his or her specialty and performs aortic aneurysm repair on a regular basis. The more experience a doctor has treating your condition or performing aortic aneurysm repair, the better prepared he or she is to anticipate and prevent complications. 

Also, confirm that the doctor is in good standing with state and federal agencies and that he or she has no history of malpractice claims or disciplinary actions. 

You’ll find all this information on Healthgrades.com.

3. Examine Hospital Performance

Cardiac and vascular procedures require a team of highly skilled and experienced healthcare professionals. For this reason, you should also consider the overall quality of cardiac and vascular care at the hospital where the surgeon practices. 

Find out where the surgeons on your list can treat patients; then research those hospitals on Healthgrades.com. Healthgrades evaluates hospitals on mortality and complication rates of patients while in the hospital for a range of common procedures, including cardiac and vascular procedures. 

Ideally you should find a hospital in your area that performs better than expected (5-stars) for aortic aneurysm repair. Then, find a doctor who can admit and treat patients at this hospital. Avoid hospitals with lower than expected (1-star) results.

If a particular hospital falls short in quality, determine if the surgeon also operates at a different facility. Otherwise, find a surgeon who treats patients at a hospital likely to offer you the best possible outcome.

4. Interview the Surgeon

As you narrow down your list of surgeons, call each surgeon’s office and ask for a consult appointment to meet and interview the doctor. 

  • Ask yourself if you are comfortable talking with the doctor. 
  • Does he or she respect your opinions and answer your questions in a way you understand? 

Here are some questions to ask the doctor:

  • Do you typically treat patients like me?
  • How many aortic aneurysm repairs have you performed?
  • What results do you usually see? Do you have outcomes data to share?
  • How frequently do you encounter complications from the surgery? 
  • What do you do to avoid complications or correct them if they occur?

5. Determine Your Insurance Benefit 

Your insurance coverage is a practical matter. To receive the most insurance benefits and pay the least out-of-pocket for your surgery, you need to choose a surgeon that participates in your plan. 

But keep in mind, just because a doctor participates in your insurance plan doesn’t mean he or she is a high-quality doctor. You still need to consider the doctor’s experience and expertise.

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Jul 30
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