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Getting a Second Medical Opinion

You just finished your ortho appointment, and the surgeon told you you need an ACL reconstruction. But researching it online, you come across someone’s negative experience with the surgery and find others who claim that it’s an unnecessary surgery. At this point, a second medical opinion seems like a good idea, but how do you go about it?

The Anatomy of a Second Medical Opinion

When seeking a second medical opinion for a surgical case, it’s a good idea to consult both a surgical and non-surgical specialist. The surgeon may know how to fix your problem with surgery, but a non-surgical specialist can suggest ways of avoiding surgery. Let’s work with some examples.

You have an ACL tear. You’re 38, active. No way you’re about to stop cycling, swimming, and running just because of an ACL tear, so surgery seems like a good idea. Then there is the recovery – ouch, 1 year – okay, but you can do some exercises in the meantime.

Step 1, find another orthopedic doctor, ideally outside of your insurance network. Insurance-based doctors have a financial incentive to perform a procedure, which can be problematic. Orthopedic surgeons, for example, receive training in surgical approaches as part of their professional education.

Step 2, you need a sports doctor who doesn’t perform surgeries. This could be a sports medicine doctor from the branches of family medicine or internal medicine. This person can tell you whether this particular knee injury can be managed without surgery.

The Guidance of Your Regular Doctor

Here at DNH I have built long-term relationships with my patients. I know their preferences and can help them think through such a decision.

So, step 3, you need to run this by your own doctor. Someone who knows you and understands all aspects of medicine. They may not be surgeons or sports medicine specialists, but your doctor can certainly download the information you gathered from the different second medical opinions and help you make the best decision.

Factors your physician considers are how a failed surgery affects you, the risk of surgery, the recovery period, your ability to perform your regular exercises without surgery, the cost of the surgery, the medication you might need afterward, the risk of knee osteoarthritis in the future, and time spent away from exercise because of rehabilitation.

Digital Nomad Health’s mission is to keep you healthy by preventing chronic diseases and helping you maximize your wellness metrics. We’ll help you think through your tough medical decisions!

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