Should You Seek a Second Opinion for Your Back Surgery?
When it comes to your spine health, sometimes two is better than one – opinions, that is. Often, people seek a second opinion when they are searching for a mechanic to fix their car, yet they do not take the same precautions when caring for their delicate spine. If your orthopedist has recommended back surgery, but you would like a second opinion, here is what you need to know:
If you feel uncomfortable with your physician for any reason, you should seek a second opinion.
If your surgeon cannot answer questions regarding the rationale for the proposed procedure, or if he or she is vague on the surgical plan, you should seek a second opinion.
If your personal goals differ from those of your surgeon (for example, if you truly want to avoid surgery, but your surgeon only presents you with that option), you should seek a second opinion.
If you believe the initial referral was based upon economic interests alone, rather than what is best for your surgery, you should seek a second opinion. For example, sometimes multi-specialty clinics only refer to other practitioners within their facility.
If the initial back surgery did not work and another, very similar, surgery is proposed, you may want to seek a second opinion, especially if it involves fusing further segments of your spine. When initial fusion surgery does not work, often, further surgery will not help.
In certain cases, your surgeon may ask you to get a confirmatory opinion prior to proceeding with your procedure. If this happens, it may be best to let the treating surgeon choose the physician to provide the second opinion. That way, he or she is better able to determine which opinion they would value.
Choosing to obtain a second opinion, and selecting the surgeon to provide it, can be a difficult process. Make it your goal to get the second opinion from a skilled, ethical, and experienced spine surgeon.