The Importance of a Second Opinion
We understand that the thought of spine, back or neck surgery can be intimidating. You want to be sure you’re making the best choice possible for you and your health, but doing this can require time and research. It’s important to know all your options, including getting a second opinion.
Unfortunately, many patients who desire a second opinion don’t follow through out of fear they may offend their current surgeon, or they simply don’t know who else to turn to. If this sounds like you, remember that your health should be top priority, and any doubts about a recommended surgery are reason enough to get a second opinion. The decision to have spine, neck or back surgery shouldn’t be taken lightly.
There are many reasons why you should consider getting a second opinion. Some significant reasons to seek a second opinion are:
- You feel uncomfortable with the surgeon or medical staff for any reason
- You’re interested in exploring non-surgical treatment options
- The surgeon has difficulty answering questions about the rationale for a suggested procedure or is vague on the surgical plan
- If you feel that your surgeon or the staff members are not taking the time to listen to and answer your questions
- You don’t share the same personal goals for your care as your surgeon
- If you suspect that your initial referral was determined by economic interests rather than who is best suited for your surgery
- If your initial surgery failed and another surgery is being proposed
Choosing a surgeon for a second opinion can be difficult. Focus on getting an opinion from a skilled, experienced and ethical surgeon who has your best interests in mind. Make sure you do your research, read online reviews or even ask friends for referrals.
Once you have found a surgeon for a second opinion, ask the questions that you may have previously skipped over. The goal of a second opinion appointment is to leave the office feeling informed, with a better understanding of what your options are. Some things you can do to get the most out of your appointment:
- Ask the surgeon about his or her experience with the specific type of back, spine or neck surgery applicable to your situation
- Research and ask about past outcomes for patients with similar conditions
- Ask about alternatives to proposed procedures
- Inquire on the progression of your condition should you choose to not have surgery
- Ask about risks or possible complications from the procedure
- Discuss a plan of action if the surgery doesn’t deliver the outcome you expected
In addition, make sure to bring any copies of tests, X-rays, scans, medical admissions and lists of medications you’re taking that are related to your condition.
More often than not there are multiple procedures and approaches to treat a single condition. Take an active role in your treatment, and don’t settle for anything less than exceptional care. If you are looking to get a second opinion regarding your surgery, call the experts at Spine Surgery of Idaho today at (208) 522-6930 to schedule an appointment.