Recommend me an orthopedist in NoVA.
May 5, 2011 8:35 AM   Subscribe

I need an orthopedist in northern Virginia. I have Anthem insurance. No pain but abnormal hip x-rays. Rate MDs says orthopedists all kinda suck. Did you like your orthopedist?

Can you recommend an orthopedist to me?

I am in the Centreville area, I have a car, I don't mind traveling for the right doctor. My insurance is the cheapest (worst) available Anthem plan, bonus for someone who will understand that I am not made of money. (I am a poor student. I do not even have a real job.)

In particular, I strongly dislike being condescended to. I will do the reading beforehand, and if something doesn't make sense I will ask why. I also have a strong fear of needles, so I need someone who can put up with me freaking out if I need, say, a contrast injection. Just because I have an irrational fear doesn't mean I can't understand what's going on. A doctor who isn't patient and understanding gets an immediate no from me.

If it's relevant, my x-ray report says: "asphericity of the femoral heads and convexity of the femoral neck, right greater than left. Consider further evaluation for femoral acetabular impingment." Last year a hip x-ray report mentioned "minimal osteoarthritis" in my right hip but the doctors never talked about it so I kinda ignored it. And my primary care doctor gave me a consultation request form and nagged until I promised to follow up on it.

Oh, and I'm only 26.

I get all these x-rays because I fall off of horses. I will try to hold on better next time.
posted by anaelith to Health & Fitness (9 answers total)
Is DC too far? My physiatrist is completely awesome. Here's his info:

Victor M. Ibrahim, MD
Staff Physiatrist
Sports and Spine Medicine
National Rehabilitation Hospital

He was really nice, and human--he treated me like a person, not an injury. He answered all my questions very carefully and took a lot of time with me. I went in for a shoulder injury and he was also happy to check out a running-related hip problem I was having. He even figured out a way to do an ultrasound on my first visit (my insurer wanted me to do the initial exam and the ultrasound on separate days) so I wouldn't have to come back in just for that and so we could get answers faster. I found him very responsive to calls/emails, and also very interested in helping me avoid surgery and other serious interventions.

His only flaw, in my opinion, is that I can't have him as my primary care doc!
posted by min at 9:11 AM on May 5, 2011

Check the rating of other specialists in the area - the problem may not be with the docs, but with those rating them. If everyone sucks, then it's likely the ratings aren't much use.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:12 AM on May 5, 2011

Check the rating of other specialists in the area - the problem may not be with the docs, but with those rating them. If everyone sucks, then it's likely the ratings aren't much use.

Seconding Slap*Happy. Don't want to derail, but I'm in NoVA, too, and I've found online ratings here--of everything, from doctors to vets to restaurants to the Target in Arlington--to be as good as useless; they all skew abnormally low.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:22 AM on May 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

What are you looking for from the doc ? What's your desired outcome ? put fears about something "abnormal" to rest ?

"abnormal x-ray but no pain" isn't, IMO, any reason to see a doc.

I had a hip impingement. I had surgery for it. I had surgery because it hurt like !@#!@ to move. My other hip has the same impingement, but no pain. Doc that did surgery said the impingement is fairly common, but only causes problems for a small number of people, so nothing needs doing about it if it isn't bothering you.
posted by k5.user at 9:32 AM on May 5, 2011

Dr. Warren Yu @GWU is awesome imho. Some of the ratings I've seen of him are the things you totally don't like, but my experience has always been superpositive. I was referred top him by emerg when I broke my arm looong ago, but I needed a new guy for preexisting back stuff now that I was local. Don't know about him re: your insurance, though.
posted by atomicstone at 10:07 AM on May 5, 2011

Dr. Andrew Holmes of GW is also awesome! His old ladies love him, as do I!

Based on your comments, you will absolutely want to avoid John B. Cohen of the Washington Hospital Center/Capitol Hill Orthopedics! I've had him as well, and he's a fun guy, but it sounds like he'd be one to keep off your list.

I've had many orthopedists, and they are kind of a different breed...
posted by jgirl at 10:57 AM on May 5, 2011

Response by poster: DC is not too far.

I can usually see where people are coming from with ratings here. Usually I think they're too picky (but not necessarily incorrect). When it comes to doctors, though, I am pretty darn picky, so I err on the side of caution.

My primary care doctor was very insistent that I go. I thought she overreacted to my fall, but I could also see why--to a non-horse person, horse falls are pretty drastic. So I wasn't really sure if she was overreacting to my x-ray report.

In favor of going: I've had some minor things. A while back I had a month or three where my right hip would be unhappy when I first stood up (matched people's descriptions of arthritis pain). Cleared up on it's own. More recently I had some achy-tightness in my lower back on the left side whenever I would bend forward, this cleared up when I specifically started stretching my lower back. My mum had chronic hip pain for several years (which has since cleared up since she started a more aggressive exercise program, rather than simply walking several times a week). My doctor was disturbed, and particularly disturbed that it was in both hips. She also seems to think I'm good at ignoring pain (not true, I'm just good at patiently finding a comfortable position and then not moving until injuries heal) and that I might be discounting any hip pain.

In favor of not going: Everything I've had or my mum has had, has cleared up. My doctor seems to worry much more than I would, possibly for things which are common and not really needing treatment. Horseback riding (predominately when I was 8-14) seems like it could easily have caused some odd hip wear on both sides. It truly doesn't hurt, I am actually a baby about pain, I would know if it hurt. I hate going to the doctor (I know, not a valid reason on its own!).

I have another followup in a couple weeks (I can't complain that she doesn't care, for sure), so I will do some more research, especially into how common this is vs. how often it causes problems, and bring this up with my doctor again before I schedule an appointment.

(Sorry for the long derail in my own thread, I guess I should amend the question to include "or should I even see an orthopedist at all"--I think it's a fair stance that I should not go, and honestly I would prefer not to go.)

And avoids are useful, too... It does seem like some orthopedists really fall into the surgeon stereotype.
posted by anaelith at 4:52 AM on May 6, 2011

I really liked my ortho when I was down there, Dr. K at Georgetown. He's sports medicine, so I don't know if that's ok. No idea what his availability is like these days.

He'll spend time talking to you, for sure, and he called me personally to follow up after my knee surgery (he helped me with my hip, too), but the waiting times at Gtown sometimes bug.
posted by Pax at 7:25 AM on May 6, 2011

Go here. Lots and lots of info. Several users have made lists of reliable doctors. Do a search for your state or name of a doc. Lots of horse riders on there as well with experiences w/ surgery. I had the same surgery as k5.user and let me tell you, PAIN is the reason that people get this surgery. It seriously fucks with every issue of your life. Also many many stories of misdiagnoses. Good luck.
posted by futz at 7:33 AM on May 7, 2011

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