As a doctor, I understand that not every medical professional is right 100% of the time with 100% of their patients. That’s why I highly recommend and encourage everyone to seek out a second opinion before considering a major surgery—especially shoulder surgery.
In the medical field, there are a lot of different ways we can do things to help our patients. Oftentimes, if our patients aren’t happy with a prescribed treatment plan, they can find a better solution somewhere else. Getting a second opinion isn’t a bad thing. In fact, any doctor who gets mad at you for wanting a second opinion probably isn’t a doctor that you want taking care of you. I know I wouldn’t want to feel like I was at conflict with my doctor.
After all, shoulder surgery is a major procedure. You have to do your research and talk with professionals to determine the best course of action for you. After all, every body is different.
Here’s why there’s nothing wrong with getting a second opinion before orthopedic shoulder surgery, and what you need to do to feel comfortable before any surgery:
Why Should I Get a Second Opinion for My Shoulder Surgery?
As a patient, you have options. You have the right to information—especially when it comes to your healthcare and treatment plan. Sometimes, an initial diagnosis can be incorrect or the proposed treatment plan may be inappropriate for your body. Doctors are still human beings, which means they make mistakes.
Shoulder surgery, even when less invasive, is still a huge procedure with a long recovery time. Before getting any kind of surgery, you want to make sure it’s absolutely necessary for treating your condition and that there are no other options.
As an orthopedic surgeon, I want my patients to feel comfortable and confident in my abilities and my treatment plan. That’s why I urge them to seek out a second opinion if they want one. If your doctor shames you for wanting a second opinion, says it’s unnecessary, or makes you feel bad for wanting to look at your lab tests—that’s a huge red flag. Your doctor needs to be on your side and advocate for your healthcare.
An Orthopedic Second Opinion
If you’ve been prescribed shoulder surgery to treat an injury, chronic pain, or another kind of condition, there are a number of reasons to seek out a second opinion. Surgery is a major procedure, and you don’t want to undergo an unnecessary surgery as this could worsen your current pain.
Getting a second opinion is ideal before any major surgery because you want to make sure that this treatment is the right one for you.
When is it a Good Idea to Get a Second Opinion?
It depends on your specific situation and your shoulder. Perhaps you’ve been prescribed surgery, but you want to explore non-surgical treatment methods. You may have already undergone a shoulder surgery and are apprehensive about getting a second one. Whatever the reason, you deserve a second opinion.
Here are some reasons to get a second opinion if your primary doctor is prescribing shoulder surgery:
- Your doctor is prescribing surgery as the only treatment method, without explaining any alternatives to you
- Your doctor has not or cannot explain exactly why surgery is the best option for you
- You feel uncomfortable asking your doctor to explain further
- You feel uncomfortable asking your doctor to see your test results and other relevant paperwork relating to your health
- You’ve already had a shoulder surgery that wasn’t successful and/or left you in more pain
- Your doctor is recommending an open surgery when other less invasive methods are available
- You would feel more confident you are making the correct decision in following through with surgery
Basically, if you feel uncomfortable with your doctor in any way—seek a second opinion. Getting surgery is a big deal, and you deserve a doctor that puts you at ease and makes you feel comfortable, informed, and empowered to make the right decisions about your treatment plan.
How Do I Request a Second Opinion?
Tell your doctor you want a second opinion. That way, you can gauge their reaction.
Like I mentioned before, any doctor that objects to you getting a second opinion isn’t someone you want treating you. Any professional, qualified, and confident surgeon will not be offended if you ask for a second opinion. In fact, I make sure to provide my patients with references and referrals for other doctors if they’d like to get a second opinion on their treatment.
When it comes to your health, very few medical decisions must be made on the spot. Surgery is a big decision and it’s one you should consider carefully. Take your time to think about it and weigh your options—and see as many doctors as you want to get their opinion. If you’ve seen multiple doctors but still want to confirm their prescribed treatment plans, do research online. There are a number of worthwhile Internet resources with information on orthopedic surgery treatment plans. Use them. Educate yourself. This is your health, after all. You deserve to be in control of it and have the power to make the decision that’s best for you.
In my experience, the more confident and secure a patient is with their treatment plan, the better experience they have when they undergo their surgery.
Need a First or Second Opinion?
I’m here for you. Reach out to my team and I for a consultation to talk about your shoulder and any treatment plans you’ve been prescribed.
Although I’m an orthopedic surgeon in Raleigh, I always believe that surgery should be treated as a last option. Let’s take your healthcare into your own hands and develop a treatment plan that works best for you.
The material contained on this site is intended for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE– it is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with a physician or a qualified healthcare provider directly with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.