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Second Medical Opinions: Why You Should Consider Getting One

What is a second medical opinion?

Once you receive a medical diagnosis from your doctor, you may want to consider getting a second opinion—an evaluation of your condition by another physician. In today’s world, second medical opinions occur commonly, especially for any medical diagnosis that calls for a major life decision. Understanding when you should get a second medical opinion and the benefits of doing so, can help you become a more informed and active health care consumer—improving your chances for a healthier and happier life.

When should I consider getting a second medical opinion?

Many circumstances warrant a second medical opinion. We recommend considering it for any of the following situations:

  • The diagnosis is life-changing and/or life-threatening
  • The diagnosis is unclear
  • The treatment plan is unclear, risky, or experimental
  • The treatment plan involves surgery
  • You are doubtful of the diagnosis and/or treatment plan

Like anything in life, the more information you obtain, the more informed and educated you become—improving the likelihood you can make the decision that protects your best interests.

What are the benefits of a second medical opinion?

Getting a second medical opinion brings numerous benefits, a reason the practice remains commonplace in health care. Those benefits include:

  • Increased knowledge and awareness of your condition and its treatment options
  • Confirmation that the initial evaluation used all the appropriate studies and tests before arriving at the diagnosis
  • Confirmation that your physician presented you with all available and appropriate treatment options
  • Confirmation that your physician presented you with an accurate and complete comparison of treatment outcomes

Health care is complex, and some conditions are difficult to diagnose. Getting a second medical opinion provides verification and validation that all appropriate measures were taken to arrive at a diagnosis and recommended treatment.

How can I get a second medical opinion?

Getting a second medical opinion is easier than many patients think. To start the process, you should inform your current doctor that you would like to obtain one. While patients may worry about offending their doctor, they should rest assured that most, if not all, physicians will understand. In fact, many physicians engage in this practice on their own, seeking the advice of peers for certain medical cases. Informing your physician ensures that he or she can provide the second doctor with all your medical records, as well as create an open line of communication to discuss any agreements and/or disagreements that may occur.

At the same time, you should also contact your health insurer to verify it will cover the second medical opinion. While coverage depends on many factors, insurers often cover second medical opinions, especially for diagnoses that carry life-changing implications.

Additionally, to receive a second medical opinion, you must also choose your new physician. As best practice, we recommend that you look outside the institution where your current doctor practices. This helps ensure that your second medical evaluation remains objective and bias-free.

Why Choose Hand Center of Louisiana?

The highly trained physicians at Hand Center of Louisiana specialize in providing second medical opinions for hand and upper extremity conditions. As we are the largest hand and upper extremity practice in the Gulf South region, our physicians are skilled at providing complete and thorough medical evaluations using the most advanced diagnostic technology. And after serving the community for more than 40 years at our current location, our physicians are also experienced in helping patients evaluate all appropriate treatment options, including non-surgical and surgical.

To schedule a consultation with one of our physicians, please call (504) 454-2191, email info@handsurgical.com, or submit an appointment request form using the button below.

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If you are an attorney or representative of a law firm seeking a second medical opinion on behalf of your client, please call (504) 378-1888 or email wc@handsurgical.com. In addition to patient care, the Hand Center of Louisiana specializes in workers’ compensation and legal cases.