When to Seek a Second Opinion Before Spinal Surgery

While it’s great to have a doctor that you trust, second opinions are never a bad idea. But, they are especially valuable in certain situations, and there are a few signs that a second opinion should be sought out immediately.

3 Signs You Should Get a Second Opinion on Spinal Surgery

First, if you’re uncomfortable with your surgeon for any reason at all, get a second opinion. The second opinion might help you understand the full scope of treatment options available to you. That information could help to validate the proposed treatment. Also, there are often different ways that back problems may be treated. More information might help you make an informed choice.

Second, if you suspect the initial referral was made for economic reasons, a second opinion is important. A patient seen recently in our practice had been referred by her “attorney” to a surgeon who insisted on performing immediate surgery at a location that was very, very far away from her home. On further scrutiny, the patient learned that the surgeon did not have privileges at any local hospitals. This raised appropriate red flags. A second opinion confirmed that surgery was not necessary.

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Third, if your surgeon is vague in explaining to you exactly how they’ll be addressing the source of your pain, you should consider getting another opinion. Indeed, if for any reason you’re unsure of the proposed treatment, a second opinion can give you peace of mind and help you explore all your treatment options. It’s possible a second opinion may confirm that the proposed treatment from your first doctor is the best course of action. It’s also possible they may disagree. Regardless, a second opinion ensures you’re receiving the most information.

Finally, if your surgeon lacks appropriate credentials or experience, a second opinion can be very helpful. Board certification is an important requirement you should investigate before letting a surgeon manage your care. The American Board of Neurological Surgeons has strict requirements for certification. If a surgeon isn’t board certified it is reasonably to ask “Why?” and seek another opinion.

If you’re interested in getting a second opinion for your spine surgery options, the neurosurgeons at Hudson Valley Brain & Spine Surgery have decades of experience and will happily give you an honest opinion on any kind of proposed surgical treatment.