What is a Second Opinion?
A second opinion is a second medical evaluation and treatment recommendation by a new doctor that you seek to verify the initial diagnosis and treatment plan suggested by your first doctor.
Why You Might Need a Second Opinion
Consider this scenario - You have a condition diagnosed by a doctor you trust and with whom you feel comfortable. The doctor advised you to undergo a specific treatment program or a surgery to treat the condition. But how do you know if your doctor’s findings and/or treatment plans are in order and correct? After all, no one healthcare provider knows everything about all conditions, or all the treatments being practiced. For this reason, getting a second opinion from another expert after the first diagnosis may prove to be crucial and worth a try especially if your doctor recommends a major medical test or surgery.
Many people do this, and most doctors encourage it and are comfortable with it. Besides this, most health insurance plans are known to pay for a second opinion.
When Should You Opt for a Second Opinion?
You may opt for a second opinion for any of the following situations:
- The diagnosis is unclear or you have doubts about the diagnosis.
- You are told you have a rare or life-threatening condition.
- You cannot understand the information given on diagnosis.
- You are not happy with the recommended treatment.
- The recommended treatment/surgery is risky or controversial.
- You want to know every possible choice available for treatment.
- You think alternative treatment may be available.
- You would like to consider a different course of treatment.
- You feel uncertain about having surgery or a major procedure.
- Your surgery is experimental and involves using trial instruments or devices.
- The choice of treatments or medical tests may vary widely in cost.
- You have undergone treatment, but your symptoms continue.
- You have lost confidence in your medical care provider.
- You are not comfortable talking to the doctor or specialist about the diagnosis or treatment.
Remember, you are empowered to get a second opinion, so be upfront with your doctor about your desire to gather more information.
Where should You Start?
Once you choose to go for a second opinion, you are advised to approach someone who has at least the same level of skill and knowledge as your current health care provider. Even better, consider contacting a specialist or asking someone who specializes in your condition. You may also ask your current healthcare provider to suggest or refer you to someone well versed with your condition.
Friends and relatives can be of great help to ask for recommendations of good doctors, especially if they have been treated for the same condition or know someone who has been. Online physician profiles in the hospital, as well as unbiased medical listings, can come in handy when finding out more information about the doctor that you would like to choose.
Check with your insurance company to make sure that the doctor that you have chosen is within your health insurance network so that you are not troubled later by unexpected medical expenses. You may then book an appointment with the second doctor you have chosen to seek his/her opinion.
What should You Ask Your Doctor?
Be honest and straightforward while telling your doctor about your intention to seek a second opinion. Ask for all your medical records with relevant images and inferences, so that you can share them with the second healthcare provider.
What Should You Ask the Second Healthcare Provider?
The questions below can help you to better clarify on your condition:
- Is the first diagnosis correct? If not, why?
- Does the second diagnosis differ from the first one?
- If it does differ, what is the reason for this?
- Is any treatment or surgery needed for the condition?
- If yes, what are the choices available?
- What are the pros and cons of each choice?
- What would happen if no treatment is chosen or if it is delayed?
If the second healthcare provider agrees with the first, you can proceed with the treatment or surgery with more confidence.
How can Dr. Miller Help You?
Dr. Miller specializes in the treatment of hand, wrist, and upper extremity conditions. He offers superior second opinions, a wider choice of treatments and the best possible solutions that are right for you and may not have been suggested before. He makes you feel more confident about your treatment or surgery and ensures peace of mind.
If you wish to be advised on the most appropriate treatment for your condition, call us on to schedule an appointment or click here to request an appointment online.