September 3, 2020

Why You Should Consider a Second Medical Opinion

It can offer you peace of mind and more information

woman talking to doctor via computer

When you’re facing a new medical diagnosis, it’s common to feel confused. Making decisions can be very difficult as you navigate the healthcare system, especially when you need to choose between several treatment options. How do you know you have been diagnosed correctly or are making the right treatment choices?

Advertisement

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

According to Dr. Rasmussen, a second opinion can help you:

It makes sense to get a second opinion when you face a medical condition that is life-changing or even life-threatening, says Peter Rasmussen, MD, cerebrovascular surgeon and Chief Clinical Officer of the Virtual Second Opinions by Cleveland Clinic.

Become a more educated healthcare consumer. By seeking a second opinion, you gain more knowledge of your condition and your options. You are more equipped to make informed decisions that can have long-term consequences.

Confirm that your diagnosis is appropriate. Have all of the appropriate studies and tests been completed and interpreted properly? Are there other diagnoses that should be considered?

Confirm that the recommended treatment is appropriate. Is the treatment plan correct and complete? Is it providing the desired results? Have all of the treatment alternatives been discussed?

Compare outcomes of the treatments you are offered. By obtaining a second opinion, you help ensure that you have been diagnosed appropriately and that you will receive the most up-to-date and optimal treatment plan. A second opinion may recommend treatments that may eliminate the need for unnecessary invasive procedures or surgery.

Advertisement

Ultimately, a second opinion can empower you to make the best decisions for your health.

Why some people hesitate

Patients are often concerned that getting a second opinion will offend their current or local physician.

But physicians know that diagnoses can affect patients in many different ways and that it’s challenging for any one physician to know about every available treatment option.

Some doctors, as a practice, will reach out to colleagues for opinions on their patients, especially when a colleague has experience particular to a patient’s disease. New treatments are appearing very rapidly and a doctor’s experience in complex situations matters because not all doctors have such experience.

“Having additional information about your diagnosis and treatment can only be helpful,” says Dr. Rasmussen.​ “Most importantly, as a patient, it is your right to seek a medical second opinion. You are your own best advocate.”

Not just for life-threatening diagnoses

A second opinion has the potential to provide your treatment team with the opportunity to consult with a leading specialist in their field. They are not just for life-threatening diagnoses, such as cancer or heart disease.

Advertisement

“Getting a second opinion for conditions that significantly affect your quality of life, such as hip and knee replacement, can ensure you have been diagnosed appropriately,” says Dr. Rasmussen. “Plus, it’ll ensure you’re getting the optimal treatment, including further medical treatment instead of surgery, and it could save you time and money.”

By removing the geographic barriers to care and using an online second medical opinion program, patients can benefit from the recommendations and advice provided to improve their health and their health care.

In some cases, the opinion provided by a second physician may agree with the diagnosis and treatment identified by your physician. This can provide you with reassurance, peace of mind and confidence that you are making the best choice for your health.

Related Articles

Patient during a virtual visit with her doctor via her smart phone.
August 16, 2023
What To Expect When You Log On for a Virtual Doctor’s Appointment

Telehealth appointments have improved access to medical care

Close up of hand holding a scoop of powder baby formula over container of powder baby formula
February 23, 2024
Feeding Your Baby: How and When to Supplement With Formula

When breastfeeding doesn’t go as planned, you may need to supplement with formula or donor breast milk — and that’s OK

Variety of medication pills and tablets and liquids
February 22, 2024
Is It OK To Take Expired Medicine?

Some types of expired meds may not be harmful, but they probably aren’t worth the risk

doctor speaking with middle-age woman
February 21, 2024
Does Your Health Determine Menopause Age?

Reaching menopause very early raises your risk of certain health conditions

Female speaking with doctor, with uterus and ovary with cysts
February 21, 2024
Can PCOS Cause Weight Gain?

The common hormonal condition is linked to insulin resistance, which can cause weight gain

Older woman awake in bed in the middle of the night looking a smartphone
February 20, 2024
Does Menopause Cause Insomnia and Sleeplessness?

Hormone changes can definitely leave you tossing and turning at night, but help is available

Giseng root and ginseng tea on reed mat
February 16, 2024
Can Ginseng Boost Your Health?

Two types of ginseng work in different ways to help improve energy, immunity and heart health

Glasses of alcohol on wooden stump outside in the snow, with bottle nearby
February 16, 2024
Drinking Alcohol in the Cold? 5 Tips on How To Stay Safe

A cold one out in the cold can cause a false sense of warmth and increase your risk of hypothermia

Trending Topics

close up of keto gummies
Do Keto Gummies Work for Weight Loss? Are They Safe?

Research is inconclusive whether or not these supplements are helpful

Person in yellow tshirt and blue jeans relaxing on green couch in living room reading texts on their phone.
Here’s How Many Calories You Naturally Burn in a Day

Your metabolism may torch 1,300 to 2,000 calories daily with no activity

Older person postioned sideways showing dowager hump.
Dowager’s Hump: What It Is and How To Get Rid of It

The hump at the base of your neck may be caused by osteoporosis or poor posture

Ad