Why Second Opinion?

Is surgery my only option? What are the risks? What are my chances for a full recovery? Do I need to get a second opinion?

Each year millions of men and women are told by their physicians that they need surgery, and the consequences of those decisions may be enormous. What if this is the first time you have heard of the condition? According to Eric Rose, MD, former Chairman, Department of Surgery, and author of The Columbia Presbyterian Guide to Surgery, "You can't expect to have a command of medical detail or the broad perspective that comes from years of training and experience. But you can speak to someone who does. It's called getting a second opinion."

Obtaining a second opinion from an experienced specialist is one valuable way you can educate yourself about your condition and take charge of your care. Becoming a better informed patient will help you arrive at the decision that is right for you.

Examples of healthcare decisions that may be impacted by a second opinion could include:

  • opting for a medical therapy rather than surgery;
  • deciding to undergo testing at a different facility than was originally recommended;
  • choosing to work with a different doctor;
  • opting for one procedure over another;
  • choosing to wait rather than have immediate treatment; and many more.

For in-depth information about how to request and make the most of your second opinion consultation, please see the resource sheets provided in our Patient Resources section.