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How to Find a Qualified Bunion Surgeon

Thinking about surgery, whether bunion surgery or brain surgery, can be a potentially stressful and serious decision. It is obviously important that you, as a patient considering surgery, make the right decision. If you know which questions to ask, you should have no trouble finding a well qualified foot surgeon who can remove the bunion, relieve your pain, and get you back to all the activities that help you enjoy life on your feet. 

Keep in mind that there are many well qualified doctors in almost every area of the country (including the San Francisco Bay Area) who are capable of successfully performing your bunion surgery.  The goal is to help you discern the valid qualifications from the dubious ones.  In this way, you should be able to determine for yourself, whether or not the surgeon you have chosen is likely to provide you the outcome you want...no bunions and a return to the activities that make life enjoyable.

This is the area where most of the confusion lies. In the United States, the foot and ankle surgeons with the most hours of foot surgery training, who are held to the highest standards and who also have the most rigorous board qualification testing are affiliated with the American Board of Podiatric Surgery. So the confusing part is that there are many other “board certifications” such as the "American Board of Multiple Specialties in Podiatry" and the "American Board of Foot Surgery."  While these "alternate boards" might sound official, they are very rarely accepted as any sort of proof of surgical skill or competency by the hospital committees that grant surgical privileges.

Board Qualification

This is the area where most of the confusion lies. In the United States, the foot and ankle surgeons with the most hours of foot surgery training, who are held to the highest standards and who also have the most rigorous board qualification testing are affiliated with the American Board of Podiatric Surgery. So the confusing part is that there are many other “board certifications” such as the "American Board of Multiple Specialties in Podiatry" and the "American Board of Foot Surgery."  While these "alternate boards" might sound official, they are very rarely accepted as any sort of proof of surgical skill or competency by the hospital committees that grant surgical privileges.

Training

Your foot surgeon should have three years of surgical training in a foot and ankle surgical residency after graduating from medical school. The more training, the more experience with a wide range of surgical methods and techniques. They say doctors are “in practice,” and the more practice your surgeon has the better.

Research

Make certain your surgeon has experience with medical research, (particular in the areas of your particular problem). This will help to ensure an interest in finding ways to perform surgery better.  A long history in practice by itself is not enough to indicate that your foot surgeon has the advanced skills you are looking for. Medical research separates leaders from followers.  The leaders of course stay out in front, searching for the latest innovations in surgical technique.

Awards

Less than 1% of all surgeons (in any specialty) will have won awards for advancing their particular field.  If you find an award winning surgeon, you have likely found the best of the best. Check your surgeon's website or search the internet for evidence of awards indicating they are at the top of their specialty.

Creativity

Surgery is both a science and an art form. A very useful trait in a surgeon is to creatively identify new solutions to surgical challenges. Look for a surgeon who has demonstrated innovative thinking such as patenting a surgical instrument or technique that can improve the outcome of the surgery.

Authority

 

As we all know, the word “authority” starts with “author.”  Those who write books, publish articles in medical journals and work to share knowledge and educate other surgeons are always staying on top of their game.  A little searching of the surgeon’s name on Google, will reveal a great deal.  If they are a winner, you will have many hits. 

Although selecting the right surgeon can be stressful, keep in mind that you are simply taking the first step to getting better. With the right surgeon, your foot surgery should be a great experience because it signifies the beginning of your recovery, as well as the beginning of a renewed more active and enjoyable life. The time you invest to research your surgeon's qualifications will be time well spent. 

 

Dr. Segler is a San Francisco based bunion surgeon and a true bunion surgery expert.  He was awarded a patent from the U.S. Patent office for creating the "Tarsal Joint Distractor" which is the best surgical instrument used in the correction of complicated bunions. He has published research teaching other foot surgeons about his methods to decrease pain after bunion surgery.  He has also presented original research related to bunion surgery at prestigous medical conferences in the United States, Canada and New Zealand. He has served as a peer-reviewer for the "Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery" as well as the "Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association."  In addition, Dr. Segler has won multiple awards from the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and the American Podiatric Medical Association for his medical research related to foot and ankle surgery. If you have painful bunions that may involve surgery, you can feel confident in the quality of care you will receive from San Francisco's bunion surgery expert.  If you have a question about bunion surgery, you can reach him directly at (415) 308-0833.