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Why should I bother to get a second opinion?

Even if you have a great relationship with your doctor, medical advances happen often, and it’s difficult for one doctor to be an expert on every change in their field. As a result, different doctors can have different views on the same disease.

Getting another doctor's opinion can provide you with different treatment and surgical options. It can also confirm your original doctor’s recommendation. Getting a second opinion can give you peace of mind that you have considered all available options.

Other common reasons to get a second opinion:

  • You aren’t comfortable with your treatment plan
  • You’ve been told there’s nothing that can be done for your problem
  • You’ve been given one treatment option that you don’t feel is appropriate
  • There is something unusual or rare about your condition
  • You feel the technology used in the treatment(s) may be outdated
  • You are uncomfortable with your doctor’s experience or expertise with the treatment

Will the first doctor be upset?

Many people worry that their doctor will be upset if they get a second opinion. If your doctor values your health first and foremost, he/she will completely understand and support you getting a second opinion. A doctor should never feel threatened or upset by a patient who wants a second opinion. If your doctor does get upset, do not be intimidated, it is a sign that you’re right to seek another opinion.

Who should I see for a second opinion?

Things to consider:

  • Consider selecting a physician with a deeper specialization in your specific condition or disease.
  • Look for someone who is fellowship trained in minimally invasive surgery and board certified.
  • Research reputable medical websites such as medscape.com, uptodate.com/patients and webmd.com to educate yourself on your issue and available treatment options.
  • Epicenter physicians are some of the most highly skilled and experienced surgeons in the country.
  • When getting recommendations from family and friends, ask for specifics about why exactly they recommend a specific doctor - is it a friendly bedside manner or because the doctor has specialized training.

What does the specialist need?

A consulting physician will need your clinical records, hospital records (including operative report), test results, and images (e.g., X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, etc.). Even with that information, they may order additional tests to make the most accurate diagnosis and treatment recommendation for you.

Will my insurance cover a second opinion?

A consultation for a second opinion with a specialist is a benefit covered by most insurance policies. Contact the specialist’s office for verification of benefits.