Have you been told you need to have spine surgery? Surgery can seem daunting and you may have doubts about your recommended course of treatment, and that is completely normal. Many patients feel embarrassed to ask for a second opinion when considering surgery, but there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Doing your research and finding the right treatment and surgeon for you is extremely important.
When should you get a second opinion?
- The sooner the better
- If you’re not comfortable with the first surgeon you saw
- If you’re not comfortable with the recommended treatment
- You want to confirm your recommended course of treatment
Why should you get a second opinion?
- Having spine surgery is a major decision. Get as much information as possible, ask all of your questions and make sure you feel comfortable with your decision and the surgeon and hospital you choose.
- You may feel that spine surgery isn’t necessary for you. Ask about other more conservative care options or minimally invasive spine surgery procedures that may be available. There may be a difference of opinion between what the first and second spine surgeon will recommend.
- There are different types of procedures and approaches to the same condition, so learning as much as you can is important. For example, minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS), often results in less pain after the surgery with a faster recovery than traditional open surgery. MISS is offered for both discectomy and fusion procedures with most patients returning home from the hospital after one to two days.
- It is NOT rude or disrespectful to get a second opinion; in fact, it is expected and is in your best interest.
David J. BenEliyahu, DC, DAAPM, DABCSP is the Administrative Director of the Back & Neck Pain Center at Mather Hospital.