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How to choose a consultant

I have been advised that I need a hip replacement. Do you have any information as to how I should choose the consultant for my operation?

10 September 2019

This content was last reviewed and updated in September 2019, by Pedro Santos, a registered nurse in our Health at Hand team.

We thank you for your question about choosing an orthopaedic consultant for your hip replacement surgery.

Trying to find an orthopaedic consultant for a planned surgery type, can sometimes feel like an overwhelming experience, We often feel it is our responsibility to find the ‘best consultant’, and this may generate considerable anxiety and pressure within ourselves to undertake this activity. We think the following common sense approach may help you reduce these potential feelings of pressure when choosing a surgeon.

How to choose an orthopaedic surgeon

  • Always ask you general practitioner for the recommendation of a surgeon. Within the local area where you live, a general practitioner will be familiar with surgeons who meet your requirements and your GP will be aware of successful and popular surgeons. Sometimes speaking to family and friends can also help you locate a surgeon who they felt comfortable with.
  • Consider checking for information that is available to members of the public on the National Joint Registry website. This website may give invaluable insights on surgeons and hospital profiles for hip replacement outcomes.
  • Ask your private medical insurer to help you locate a number of surgeons. Many insurers will help you do this. At AXA Health, we have a dedicated team of people in our Fast Track service, whose role is to find our members a surgeon, or choice of surgeons who are the best fit for them, based on various factors, including specialism and location.
  • Consider choosing a consultant that performs surgical work within the National Health Service at centres of orthopaedic excellence. Your chosen consultant may undertake private surgical work at a private hospital nearby or see National Health Service – private patients.
  • Consider contacting your nearest private hospital to gather names of orthopaedic consultants who have consulting rights at a private hospital in the area in which you live.

The consultation with the surgeon

The consultation with a surgeon can be a daunting experience and many people can feel overwhelmed by the formality of the process, the ‘authority and expertise’ of the specialist and our own feelings of being overwhelmed by our own lack of understanding of what the surgeon may propose. We would always encourage a member to take a list of questions into the consultation with them and to refer to these frequently.

It’s always a good idea to go with someone else, who can make notes of what the surgeon has said in response to these asked questions and to ask questions on your behalf if you are feeling overwhelmed. We feel that that following list of questions might be commonly asked in a consultation with a surgeon and for the things that you need to think about.

  • How severe is the osteoarthritis in the hip joint and what is the recommended management for this level of damage?
  • Has the National Joint Registry made any recommendations as to what prosthetic hip replacement device has been suggested in similar case to yours?
  • What are the audited outcomes/results of your work and do you contribute information to the National Joint Registry to help evaluate surgeons, hospital and prosthetic joint performance?
  • How often is revision work carried out from their initial surgery on the hip
  • Do they perform minimally invasive techniques or computer assisted technology for the hip joint replacement (there are newer techniques and prosthetic devices available from many different manufacturers).
  • The benefits and risks of the surgery for you as an individual
  • An overview of the surgery and the recovery phase from the surgery
  • Do you feel that you have a good rapport with the surgeon?
  • Do you need to consider a second opinion from another orthopaedic consultant?

You can find independent information about the quality and cost of private treatment available from doctors and hospitals by looking at the Private Healthcare information Network website at

We hope that the following information has helped.

Answered by the Health at Hand team.  

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