a second opinion is standard medical practice these days. There are millions of surgical procedures performed in the United
States every year and the majority of these operations are necessary
for the health and well being of the patient. But, according
to recent studies, a percentage of surgeries may be unnecessary.
Many people are now seeking second opinions, especially when it
comes to elective surgery procedures. Also some insurance
companies are encouraging second opinions for surgical procedures
and more people than ever are beginning to take an active role in
their health care options.
Based on all of the surgeries performed, one can conclude that
overall we have a good system. However, we still hear of
horror stories and botched operations from time to time, both in
this country and around the world.
A second medical opinion can save you time and money, and it is
possible that the condition in question can be treated by means
other than surgery. Your doctor's approach to treating your
condition is influenced by his training, experience, and exposure to
new techniques. Getting a second opinion is standard medical
practice, and you will find that most physicians welcome second and
even third opinions. You can be candid and open with your
physician about this as you tell him your feelings and how much more
comfortable you'd feel getting another doctor's opinion.
If you decide to get a second medical opinion on a surgical
procedure, you may wish to ask your doctor to refer a colleague or
specialist. If you'd rather seek out another doctor yourself,
you can take the matter up with your local medical society or area
When you go to a second doctor, tell him or her the name of the
recommended surgical procedure and do over the various tests you
have already had. This can save you the unnecessary expense of
running duplicate medical tests. If the second doctor agrees
that the surgery is necessary, he or she will usually send you back
to the first doctor.
If you make the decision to have the recommended surgery, there are
a number of questions you may like to have answered such as from
what medical school did the surgeon graduate, and in what specialty
did the surgeon complete an accredited residency program. You
might also want to inquire as to how many operations like yours the
particular surgeon has performed and how many of those patients have
required additional surgery.
A good indicator of a surgeon's competence is certification by the
Board of Medical Specialties. The letters F.A.C.S. (Fellow of
the American College of Surgeons) after the surgeon's name is
another sign of a surgeon's qualifications.
Once you are comfortable with your choice of a surgeon, find out
what your options are. Ask about possible risks, complications
and side effects, and the length of the recovery period. Talk
to others who have had the same procedure. Also, don't forget
to check with your insurance company to learn if the surgical
procedure is covered under your policy, and if so, whether it is
covered as in-patient or out-patient surgery. Remember, you
deserve to be informed of all your health care options, especially
when it involves a surgical procedure.
Regular checkups are particularly necessary if
there is a family history of heart attacks of heart disease, high
blood pressure, high cholesterol levels or diabetes.