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Asking another physician/surgeon for a second opinion is an important step in ensuring that this particular procedure is the best option for you. A second opinion can help you make an informed decision about the best treatment for your condition and can help you weigh the risks and benefits against possible alternatives to the surgery.
Several health plans now require and will pay for patients to obtain a second opinion on certain non-emergency procedures. Medicare may also pay for patients to obtain a second opinion. Even if your plan does not require this, you still can request a second opinion.
If you decide to get a second opinion, check with your health plan to see if it is covered. Your primary care physician or hospital can provide you with names of qualified physicians. Be sure to get your medical records from your first physician so that the second one does not need to repeat tests and procedures.
Remember, in the case of emergency surgeries, the surgery should be performed as quickly as possible and, most likely, there will not be time to obtain a second opinion. The necessity of getting a second opinion should always be weighed against the severity and urgency of the medical condition.