Re. your question, " I'm curious how others evaluated their surgeons?"- We chose our Surgeon based on reputation and experience too (open surgery however), and did the following things:
1. Looked up some of his published research (just a google search initially). We also asked him about this research at a consultation, particularly with regard to younger men/outcomes etc, and he was able to explain it all in simple language. Therefore he seemed up to date with all developments in the field and making a contribution etc..
2. In addition I would personally suggest maybe asking some nurses who work with him (if this is possible), how they find working with him? If they whole-heartedly recommend him as excellent this is a very good sign. They (nurses working with him), should have high regard for his work, regardless of his personality if he is really good. Of course you may not feel comfortable doing that, but we did...
If the specialist is open and confident in his own reputation he should not mind being checked out so openly. At least this is what we have found. A good Surgeon usually has a happy and well functioning team - they have to....for best results and best service at this difficult time..
3. We also rang up two patients of the particular Surgeon (we got the contacts from a local support group. Both men also highly recommended him in their recovery periods..
That just about sealed the decision for us. We found phoning local support groups helpful for checking out his reputation etc and all men who had put themselves down for being called, answered freely all our questions. We did not find anyone under 50 to ask in the local support group..... but other men who had the same doc and similar Gleesons, helped immensely with our ultimate choice.
All the best with your decisions. This may not help, but just a few other avenues to consider if you have not already done so... Good luck, Lana.