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When to Get a Second Opinion About Surgery

June 20, 2019

second-opinion-surgeryEverybody makes mistakes, including your doctor. That’s why it makes sense to get a second opinion if you’re facing non-emergency surgery.

An estimated 12 million adults are misdiagnosed every year in the United States. There is also a good chance your health plan will pay for a second opinion for medically necessary procedures. Some even require you to get a second opinion.

Let’s look at some of the pros and cons and situations that require a second opinion about surgery.

Top Reasons To Get A Second Opinion

One of the top reasons to get a second opinion is if you don’t feel 100 percent comfortable with your doctor’s surgical advice. If you think there may be a better treatment option for you, you should get a second opinion. Finally, you can also ask yourself if you have anything to lose by getting a second opinion.

You may be thinking: Wait. I spent a great deal of time researching my doctor. I was on a six-month waiting list to see her. What’s more, I really like her and respect her. The last thing I want to do is to offend her by seeking an opinion from another doctor.

Nonsense.

Second Opinions Can Confirm Diagnosis

Ask around the medical community, and you will find that most doctors agree that talking with another doctor can provide peace of mind. Many welcome second opinions because they can often confirm a diagnosis. There are very few people who, during the course of their entire career, don’t make a mistake. If a doctor misses something that is then found by another doctor, that’s a win for everyone.

The American College of Surgeons says that getting a second opinion before surgery is good medical practice, and doctors shouldn't be offended when a patient asks for one.

But there is a right way and a wrong way to go about getting a second opinion.

How to Go About Getting a Second Opinion

DO get a second opinion as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the week before your scheduled surgery.

DO bring your medical records, medical test results or imaging from your original consultation.

DON’T bring emotion into the situation. Don’t worry about offending either doctor. It’s your job to ask questions, listen and try to rationally assess what both doctors tell you.

DO realize that your second doctor (or third or fourth) may make more sense to you than your first doctor. This is because you are understanding everything more clearly. You're going through the same information and the same explanations. You may even mistakenly think of your new doctor as more intelligent than your first doctor.

DO take a friend or family member with you. You’ve got a big decision to make, and it may help to talk through your logic and concerns with another person.

Think of it as a major life decision. You don’t buy a house without looking around. You don’t send your child to the very first college you visit. You don’t make a big investment without putting a lot of thought into your options. Major surgery should be handled the same way.

If you or a loved one are facing surgery, contact us today to make an appointment with one of our doctors to talk about your treatment plan. Or, if you need to find a physician to get a second opinion, we’re here to help. In the end, you are the CEO of your health. But we are here to help you make the very best decision for your life and your future.

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