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Why You Should Always Get A Second Opinion Before Shoulder Surgery

If you have ever had surgery in the past or are expecting to have surgery in the future, you understand how intimidating and daunting the process can be. Visits with doctors often feel rushed and it may difficult for you to get all of your questions answered before surgery.

One question that I've found patients are hesitant to ask their surgeon is: "Do I really need this surgery?"

This can be an intimidating question to ask. Doctors (for good reason), often speak very confidently and matter-of-factly when it comes to developing a surgical plan. As a Physical Therapist who has treated hundreds of patients before and after surgery, I have a good understanding of how the pre-operative process goes. I also understand the importance of seeking a second opinion from a different doctor.

I always recommend my patients get a second opinion.

The Value of a Second Opinion

There are many reasons why getting a second opinion from a different doctor can be valuable to you as the patient. Although sometimes having multiple opinions can "muddy the water," I always recommend it to my patients to help them make a more informed decision about their body.

Here are a the top 4 reasons why seeking a second opinion is valuable:

  1. A different surgeon may see something totally different on your MRI which can influence the plan of care and surgical plan.

  2. Different surgeons utilize different surgical techniques. Surgical technique has a big impact on post-operative recovery, so this is an important aspect to consider.

  3. Surgeons have more or less experience with different types of patient populations and surgical procedures. You want to find the surgeon that is best for you!

  4. Different surgeons may utilize different post-opertive protocols for the same procedure. You want to get an idea from multiple surgeons as to how they want you to progress after surgery.

Questions to Ask at a Second Opinion Visit

I've written about this topic in the past and suggest you check out this post for more information: 10 Questions to Ask Your Doctor and PT Before Surgery

At the end of the day, you have to be your own biggest advocate when navigating the health care landscape. After all, it is your body that is undergoing surgery. You want to have all the information you need to make an informed decision to maximize your chance of having a successful outcome.

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