Surgery, whether elective or medically necessary, is a very serious topic and, if time permits, should be thoroughly investigated before the procedure is done. Getting a second opinion is a very serious task and should not be taken lightly. The following article will go over what a second opinion is, determining when to get a second opinion, reasons why you should get a second opinion and the benefits about getting one and what to do when you receive a second opinion.
When your doctor recommends that you need surgery, and if it not immediately necessary, he or she might recommend that you get a second opinion. A second opinion is simply another medical opinion, given by a doctor other than your initial doctor, regarding your medical condition requiring surgery.[i]
Determining when to get a second opinion might be confusing, but there are some simple and easy things to look for when you need one. If your doctor recommends surgery to either diagnose a condition or treat a health problem, and you have ample time to have the surgery, then this sign lets you know when you should get a second opinion. It is also recommended to get a second opinion when your physician informs you that you should have major, non-surgical procedures.[ii] The bottom line here is that when your doctor recommends surgery and you don’t have to have an emergency procedure, this is generally accepted when you should get a second opinion.
After you have determined when to get a second opinion, there are many reasons why you should get one. One important reason to get a second opinion is to see how up-to-date your doctor is. As with any profession, not every single doctor is familiar with the latest surgical procedures and safety measures. Getting a second opinion will expose you to different doctors with different levels of continuing education. Doctors, while you are seen for a second or even third opinion, might see an unnoticed symptom by the first doctor you saw.[iii] This may or may not alter your prognosis and may even determine that you may not need surgery.
There are many benefits to getting a second opinion for your surgery, assuming it is not an emergency surgery. Talking with a second or third doctor will give you a different perspective on the surgery. You will learn about all of the risks, benefits, results if the surgery is not performed and long-term effects from two different doctors; sometimes doctors are unaware, forget or fail to cover all aspects of the procedure.
When you get a second opinion, there are some things to do before and during the second opinion consultation. Before going to the surgeon for your second opinion, you should make sure your doctor sends your medical records to the second surgeon and you personally confirm it. The next step, before you visit, is to write down a list of questions to ask the doctor during the interview. The last step before the visit is to enlist someone to bring along on the appointment with you. During the consultation, you will need to go over the surgery and see what he or she has to say about it. During your conversation you should inform your potential surgeon of what tests you have already had, current medications and other medically relevant information. While speaking with the surgeon during your second opinion, ask him or her questions from your list of questions, questions that develop during the conversation and encourage your friend to ask questions about the procedure.[iv]
As you can see from the detailed information discussed in this article, getting a second opinion can be valuable. There are many steps before and during a second opinion consultation to be aware of. If you do need surgery, and have time to explore your options, taking advantage of a second opinion has many benefits.Dr. Christian Birkedal is a Board Certified General Surgeon with over 15 years of providing exceptional service and care to his patients. He specializes in performing minimally-invasive surgeries that allow a patient to recover quickly and with less discomfort. Dr. Birkedal was just recently Awarded Physician of the Quarter which has reasserted Dr. Birkedal’s reputation as a premiere surgeon at one of America’s most highly-regarded medical institutions. Dr. Birkedal is a member of the American Medical Association, the Florida Medical Association, American College of Surgeons and Underwater and Hyperbaric Medicine Society. Dr. Christian Birkedal’s practice is located at:Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center305 Memorial Medical Parkway, Ste 205 Daytona Beach, Florida 32117 The office phone number is 386-231-3530 and they are openfrom Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.
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