To find a highly rated back surgeon, begin by asking a primary care physician for referrals. Friends who have undergone back surgery and local universities and hospitals are also valuable sources for referrals. Look for a back surgeon who is board-certified or board-eligible and who spends a minimum of one-third of her time treating back problems, and ask pointed questions about the surgeon's experience, as Spine-health recommends.
Ask any potential back surgeon questions about how many times she has performed the specific procedure that is under consideration and how and where she was trained in the procedure. Ask to speak to other patients who have had the procedure. Compare the success rate of the surgeon in question with the overall success rate for the procedure. It's a bad sign if the surgeon seems defensive when responding to these questions, according to Spine-health.
If possible, talk to the surgical nurses who work with the surgeon you are considering, and ask if they would have this surgeon perform surgery on themselves or their parents. Talk to people in the health care field to get a sense of the surgeon's reputation. If a surgeon accepts Medicare, find her rating based on outcomes from Medicare, as Spine-health points out. Run a background check to see if the surgeon has been subject to any disciplinary hearings or malpractice suits.