Choosing Your Surgeon

Finding the right health care team to treat you isn't always easy. Choosing the right doctor can take time. Many people are tempted to rush and choose a doctor that offers treatment as soon as possible. Spend time in selecting the correct doctor as it is likely that your relationship with this person will last through treatment and into long-term follow-up care.

Mr Mehrdad Nikfarjam has extensive training in the field of advanced and minimallyinvasive liver, pancreas and biliary surgery. He also performs between 200-300 endoscopic retrograde cholangiography procedures (ERCP) and is able to provide complete management of complex liver, biliary and pancreatic disorders. Mr Nikfarjam also offers keyhole general surgery in the form of hernia (inguinal and incisional) and gallbladder operations.

Mr Nikfarjam believes in providing unsurpassed cancer surgery services. All cases are discussed in a multidisciplinary cancer setting at the Austin Hospital. The Austin Hospital is one of the largests, hepatobiliary units in Australia. Cases are discussed in the presence of up to six specialised liver, pancreas, and biliary surgeons, all with overseas training. The meeting is also attended by interventional radiologists, nuclear medicine specialists and gastrointestinal oncologists.

Mr Nikfarjam believes that quality cancer services can best be provided in a few centres where high volume experience can be provided. He only performs advanced cancer cases at Austin and Warringal Private Hospitals. Certain operations are undertaken with other specialised hepatobiliary / transplant surgeons and interventional radiologists to provide the best possible care and maximize the chances of complete tumour removal. In specific planned vascular reconstruction operations, the services of vascular and even plastic surgeons may be required.

Below are some points to consider when deciding if your specialist is right for you:

Make appointments: The first visit

Scheduling appointments with a several doctors before selecting your doctor is fine. The most important question to ask them is how much experience they have in treating your type of condition or cancer.

Along with finding out the doctor's medical experience and credentials, notice how comfortable you feel with him or her. One way to measure this is to ask yourself these questions after your appointment.

  • Did the doctor give you a chance to ask questions?
  • Did you feel the doctor was listening to you?
  • Did the doctor seem comfortable answering your questions?
  • Did the doctor talk to you in a way that you could understand?
  • Did you feel the doctor respected you?
  • Did the doctor ask your preferences about different kinds of treatments?
  • Did you feel the doctor spent enough time with you?
  • Are you or your practice involved in clinical trials (medical studies) of new treatments?
  • What are your office hours?
  • How can I reach a doctor after hours?
  • Who will see me when you are on leave?
  • Who else will be on my health care team?
  • May I bring someone with me to my appointments?
  • Will my case be discussed within a multidisciplinary setting?

Trust yourself when deciding whether this doctor is right for you

It's helpful to ask around about a doctor's reputation, but in the end, trust your intuition. You should feel comfortable not only with your doctor's ability to treat your condition but also with how he or she treats you as a person. A relationship does take time to develop and you may need more than a single visit before you and your doctor really get to know each other, however, if it doesn't feel right, keep looking.

Second opinions

Even after you have chosen your doctor, you may wish to seek a second opinion.

Consider getting a second opinion when:

  • The doctor doesn't know what is wrong with you.
  • You think the doctor underestimates the seriousness of your illness.
  • You have a rare or unusual cancer.
  • You feel uncertain about the proposed treatment.
  • You want to be sure you have explored all options.
  • You think there may be another treatment available.

Tell your doctor you plan to seek a second opinion. It is common for patients to do this, so most doctors are comfortable with the request. You may want to ask your doctor to recommend someone.

Once you have decided who you will see for your second opinion, ask that your medical records, original x-rays, and test results be shared with the referral doctor. You will need to sign a release of information form or you may wish to take copies of your medical records to the new doctor yourself.

Be sure to take all of your medicines (including vitamins, supplements, and drugs you take only when needed) with you on your first visit. The new doctor will review your medical history, prior test results, do a physical exam, and may perform some other tests too.

  • ANZ HPBA
  • Australasian Pancreatic Club
  • Pancare Foundation
  • SSAT
  • APA
  • ASGE
  • AHPBA
  • GESA
  • IHPBA
  • AAS
  • RACS
  • SAGES