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Getting a second opinion from orthopedic

How to Get a Second Opinion from an Orthopedic Doctor

Oct 31, 2022

While you should trust your chosen orthopedic doctor, they’re not infallible either and when matters are serious, or when you are in doubt, it’s ok to get a second opinion. It simply means that you are doing your due diligence and you want to be sure before making a decision. Once confirmed from another source, you’ll be far more determined and resolute.

Still, one may wonder how to get a second opinion from an orthopedic doctor. There’s a procedure involved. You need to find someone reputable and experienced, otherwise, what’s the point? You also need to find a doctor within your insurance network, to ensure that you are covered by your health insurance provider. All in all, let’s try and figure out when and how you should get a second opinion, should you feel you need one.

How to Know You Need a Second Opinion from an Orthopedic Doctor?

Before you get a second opinion, you must first establish that you need one, to begin with. In general, there are a couple of scenarios in which seeking a second opinion is a sensible thing to do. For instance:

  • If you are diagnosed with something rare and you don’t believe your doctor has previous experience with this condition. For instance, osteogenesis imperfecta, achondroplasia, or hypophosphatasia are just some examples of such rare orthopedic diseases.
  • A complex injury involving damage to soft tissue and multiple bones breaking at the same time is an incredibly sensitive matter. Here, the competence of your physician might determine the successful recovery.
  • If surgery is an option, the doctor can merely suggest but, in the end, the choice is all yours. So, even if you do trust your physician, you might want to get a different opinion. Here, however, getting an opinion of an orthopedic surgeon greatly matters. You want to know that the person you’re talking to knows what they’re talking about.
  • If the treatment is experimental, no one can offer a high enough guarantee. Still, by getting several different opinions, you can make a better-informed decision.

Now, the reason why we’ve used these four examples is that we’re talking about a second opinion, not a change of a physician. If you doubt a physician’s competence (for whatever reason) or are dissatisfied with them or their treatment suggestions, you’re always free to go elsewhere.

The truth is, that even your physician may send you to someone else, just to confirm their opinion or check if they’re right. In other words, doctors ask for second opinions all the time. There’s no reason why you should avoid this, as well.

Does Your Insurance Cover Second Opinions?

This may be an important question to you, and something to find out prior to your search. The truth is that it all depends on your insurance plan. It comes down to reading the fine print and/or calling them to be sure, seeing as how none of this is intuitive or straightforward. Namely, your insurance may cover second opinions in some conditions but not in others. In other words, it all comes down to knowing how to use your health insurance.

And, as we’ve already said, you need to find a doctor within your insurance network. Your search will usually start with looking for an appointment at an orthopedic near you, however, the insurance network is just as important as the physician’s proximity.

Does Medicare cover second opinions?

Again, this depends on the plan. For instance, Medicare Part B helps you pay for a second opinion before the surgery. Here, it’s your right to:

  • Understand all your treatment choices
  • Have a second doctor look at the choices in question
  • Participate in treatment decisions

Needless to say, the doctor whose second opinion you’re seeking needs to accept Medicare. Fortunately, this is something that you can easily check online or via phone. If you’re asking your doctor to recommend someone, you can also check it with them.

How to Tell Your Doctor You Want a Second Opinion?

A lot of people are worried that they’ll offend their doctor by asking for a second opinion. Whether or not this will happen depends on how you tell them. Saying that you want a second opinion and then just storming out of the office is offensive, regardless of how valid your reasons are.

Doctors, in general, dislike being disbelieved because of something you’ve read online. Keep in mind that a doctor is a trained professional. Your Google search, on the other hand, will not necessarily tell you what disease you have, only what disease has the best Search Engine Optimization.

There is, however, the right way to use online knowledge to your benefit, as well. An orthopedic second opinion online, if given by a proper medical expert, doesn’t have to be any less valid than one given in person. Just keep in mind that while an online physician can examine your test results, they cannot examine you in person.

In other words, just be direct and respectful.

What to Do Before Getting a Second Opinion?

Now, before getting a second opinion, you need to ensure that the second doctor has all the necessary documentation in advance. With orthopedic injuries and diseases, you want them to have all the X-ray and MRI images necessary. Ideally, your first doctor would send them all the documentation. You probably also need to fill out a release form to have the first doctor’s office send your records to the second doctor’s office or to have the first doctor’s office give you copies of all of your records. Before going to visit the second doctor, it’s usually a smart move to contact them and check if they’ve received the documentation in question. This way, you avoid going there in vain.

Remember, it’s not just about how to get a second opinion orthopedic doctor, it’s also about how to make this second opinion count. So, both parties need to be well-prepared. The doctor in question needs to receive and study the documentation, while you need to prepare your questions in advance.

Also, when speaking to the second doctor, make sure to tell them:

  • What the first doctor recommended
  • What tests they have done
  • Add some questions that your friends or family members may have

Keep in mind that even if the second doctor asks for more tests, if you’ve done everything right, your insurance should help pay for these tests and additional services. Just study your NJ health insurance before making any new contacts and appointments.

Wrap Up

So, how to get a second opinion orthopedic doctor? You start by making a checklist of whether you need one, to begin with. Second, you study your insurance and see what your options are. Third, you find the right second opinion orthopedic (either on your own or with the help of your first doctor). Fourth, you should arrive at the consultation with the second opinion doctor prepared and focused on unveiling the truth (not just focused on being right).

For those who want to know more on this subject, making an appointment at an orthopedic near you is a great way to get some first-hand information.

This article was reviewed and approved by an orthopedic surgeon as we place a high premium on accuracy for our patients and potential patients.