Getting a Second Opinion: Three Reasons You Should Consider Talking to Multiple Pros Before Surgery
If there’s one thing we’re committed to here at Mend Well, it’s empowering patients to take control of their procedure to enhance their recovery experience. One key to ensuring you’re properly prepared to go under the knife? Getting a second opinion. Today, then, we’re talking all about the power of getting a second opinion and breaking down 3 major reasons it’s important to talk to at least two medical pros before you commit to going under. Read on for all you need to know about this often overlooked topic.
1. Surgery is a major life event.
Whether the procedure you’re having is considered relatively minor or is extremely serious, surgery is a major life event. No matter what you’re going in for, going under anesthesia puts a significant amount of stress on your body. You wouldn’t purchase a home without looking at multiple properties. Heck, you probably wouldn’t even purchase a television without researching a few different products and brands—so the decision to go under the knife should be no different. Don’t get us wrong—we know that surgery isn’t always a “choice,” and we’re certainly not suggesting that there’s a way around medically necessary procedures. But getting a second opinion can bring you some insight you wouldn’t otherwise have, allowing you to make the best possible decision before you commit to something as major as a surgical procedure.
2. You might have other options.
Getting a second opinion might just offer up a different approach you didn’t know existed (i.e., instead of completely replacing a ligament, for example, maybe a surgical procedure can be done to help strengthen it). Whether it’s a completely different option that doesn’t involve going under anesthesia—or it’s simply a different surgical approach to treating the problem, various medical professionals will have their own unique take on what your best option is—empowering you to make the choice you’re most comfortable with. In fact, a 2017 Mayo Clinic study found that “as many as 88 percent of [patients who got a second opinion] go home with a new or refined diagnosis—changing their care plan and potentially their lives.”
It’s also important to take into account the rate of misdiagnoses. One poignant story published in USA Today examines the case of a baseball player who was told he needed a Pacemaker, when all he really needed, according to a slew of other doctors, was blood pressure medication. That same article cites the fact that “tens of thousands of times each year, patients are wheeled into the nation’s operating rooms for surgery that isn’t necessary,” and that, “unnecessary surgeries might account for 10% to 20% of all operations in some specialties, including a wide range of cardiac procedures.” Think about that for a second—as many as 10-20% of cardiac procedures might not be medically necessary. You certainly don’t want to fall within that 10-20%.
3. It will bring you a serious sense of peace.
Ultimately, even if getting a second opinion only serves to confirm exactly what your first doctor said, that can bring you a sense of peace in knowing that you’re making the right decision. If a second opinion aligns perfectly with what your original physician told you, then you can rest easy knowing you’re making the right choice. If, on the other hand, it doesn’t align with your first doctor’s opinion, you’re now armed with the information you need to make an informed decision regarding your health!
Overall, when it comes to surgery, getting a second opinion is such an important—and often overlooked—part of the patient-empowerment process. Want even more pre-surgery tips? Browse the rest of our blog for pre-op information, helpful nutrition advice, and pro medical tips for ensuring your procedure—and recovery—are the best they can be.