Questions for Your Doctor

Establishing the correct diagnosis and finding a doctor you can trust may be the two most important factors in treating hip dysplasia. An accurate diagnosis allows proper selection of treatments. Having a doctor you can trust allows you to rely on many years of training, experience and professional judgment. Improving your general knowledge will allow you to recognize or anticipate any unexpected problems.

  • Ask other doctors in the same specialty if possible. Your primary care doctor can also help, but similar specialists know each other best.
  • Talk to friends who have had experiences with different doctors.
  • Check out your doctor online.
    • Remember that one dissatisfied patient can distort online polls.
    • Satisfied patients often don’t bother to complete online polls.
  • Trust your instincts.
    • You should be comfortable with your doctor.
    • He/she should be able to communicate and answer your questions.
    • A defensive physician may be hiding something, but that may also depend on whether you ask an insulting or repetitive question.
  • Don’t keep searching for the absolute top doctor unless your condition is extremely rare or complicated

Questions you can ask

  • How often do you see this condition or perform this surgery?
  • Are the other specialists like anesthesiologists and nurses comfortable with the treatment of this condition?
  • Can you tell me something about your training and experience?
  • Do you have any written materials, videos, or preferred websites about this condition or surgery?
  • What is the best way to reach you in case of problems or questions?

Tips for asking questions

  • Try to ask questions that seek knowledge and information instead of questions that seek to verify your opinion and wishes.
  • Avoid intimidating, specific questions that challenge the knowledge or training of the physician.
  • Avoid asking the same question twice unless you don’t understand the answer. Do not repeat the question in an attempt to obtain a different option.
  • Questions that offer observations are better than criticism of faults. For example, you could say, “Doctor, did you know that we wait about two hours every time we come here?”

Questions about Diagnosis and Treatment

  • How reliable are the tests for diagnosing hip dysplasia?
  • Are there different degrees of severity and how bad is my child’s case?
  • What happens if you don’t do anything? What is the expected course and outcome with treatment?
  • How effective is each treatment option?
  • What happens if my treatment doesn’t work?
  • What are the risks and possible complications of my treatment?

Questions about Surgery

  • What operation are you recommending?
    • What’s it for and how do you do it?
    • How long is the procedure How long will my child be in the hospital?
    • What will we need after we get home?
    • How long does it take to see the end result?
    • Will more surgery be needed later?
  • Are there alternatives to that procedure?
  • What happens if the operation doesn’t work?
  • What are the risks of this procedure?
  • What happens if I decide not to let my child have the surgery?

Getting a Second Opinion

  • Don’t hesitate to obtain a second opinion if you are confused or uncertain. Instead of asking the original doctor to refer you to a doctor for the second opinion, do some research on your own, if possible. You can contact the IHDI for a second opinion if you want.
  • Remember that there may be normal differences of opinion among doctors.
  • Take any records or x-rays to your second opinion surgeon. It’s also helpful for him to know what has already been suggested so he can discuss the pros and cons of that choice.
  • It’s usually a good idea to go back to the original physician for more discussions after seeing the second opinion surgeon.

The second doctor has an advantage because he will answer questions you hadn’t thought to ask the first doctor. He will also seem more knowledgeable because he already knows you are contemplating surgery.


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