Guide Second Opinion

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When your healthcare provider recommends surgery or a major procedure or treatment, it's smart to get a second opinion from another expert. But, how do you .
Table of contents

If you are deciding about a surgery or other special treatment, ask your primary care doctor such as your family doctor or general practitioner for the name of a surgeon or specialist who doesn't work with your current surgeon or specialist. Also think about getting an opinion from a health professional with a different background. When getting a second opinion, follow these steps:.

Second opinion - Help getting a second opinion - CZ

Forms you can take to your doctor visit include:. When you have gathered the information you need, go over it with your primary care doctor or the specialist of your choice. Talk about how treatment choices might change your daily life, now and in the future.


For testing choices, talk about how the results would be useful to you. If your doctors agree, your decision should be clearer.

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But sometimes doctors disagree. Even when doctors follow the same guidelines, there may be more than one treatment choice. Two doctors may have good, yet different, opinions about how to treat you.

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If the doctors don't agree, talk to your primary care doctor again. Can he or she help you with your decision? If not, and if you still wonder about other options, talk to a different kind of provider. For example, if you are thinking about back surgery, meet with two surgeons and talk to a physiotherapist , a physiatrist a doctor trained to help with recovery from surgery, injury, or stroke , or a doctor with experience in non-surgical back care. You might learn about some non-surgical, lower-risk choices you can try. Author: Healthwise Staff.

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  • Where should you start?.
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This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.

What is a second opinion?

Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Learn how we develop our content. To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated. Top of the page. Topic Overview When you're facing a tough health care decision, you may have a hard time knowing what to do.

Seeking a Second Opinion

When is a second opinion helpful? But a second opinion may be a good idea if: You are deciding about a costly or risky test or treatment, like a surgery. You are not clear about how well a test or treatment may work. WebMD: A recent study of biopsy slides at Johns Hopkins published in the December issue of the journal Cancer showed a surprising rate of misdiagnoses. Is it realistic to ask for a second medical and lab or pathologist opinion?

Groopman: Always.

How to Ask for a Second Opinion

I saw a woman recently who had sought three "second" opinions in Boston. She had been diagnosed with a breast cancer that was characterized by the genetic marker HER2 , a marker for a very aggressive breast cancer. If staining of the tissue by a pathologist shows this, it means that you're eligible to be treated with a new medication called Herceptin. It also means you have a much more aggressive form of cancer and need chemotherapy immediately. As part of my assessment, I sent the slides to our pathologist and he said, "I just don't think this is HER2. I think there may have been a technical error in the staining.

She's done extremely well on hormones, which are not toxic, in contrast to a course of intensive chemotherapy -- without probable benefit -- and Herceptin, which wouldn't have worked for her.

About the Second Opinion Service

WebMD: What if you are convinced that your opinion is correct and the patient wants to do something you feel won't work? Groopman: I try to present my advice in as compelling a way as possible.

I suggest that they see other specialists because sometimes the weight of more than one opinion helps. But the ultimate choice is the patient's. No one's going to shackle him and take him to the operating room in the middle of the night. She is the author of five books, including Your Joke Is in the E-mail.

Health Insurance and Medicare Feature Stories. WebMD: What situations demand a second opinion? WebMD: We all fear being the "demanding" patient.