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Medical Second Opinions?

Call us at 281-633-8600.  In this article and video, Dr. J. Michael Bennett talks about why you might consider asking for one or more medical second opinions when making decisions about your medical care.  He specializes in treating issues of the shoulders, elbows, knees, and some hand and wrist injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome and trigger finger.

Dr. J. Michael Bennett is a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon and Fellowship Trained Sports Medicine Doctor.  We accept Aetna, Cigna, United Healthcare and most other medical insurance plans, and we serve patients from the Metro Houston area through offices in Sugar Land and near the Houston Galleria.  Dr. Bennett works with his patients to identify non-invasive and non-surgical treatments, when possible.

In this video, Dr. Bennett discusses when you might want to seek a second opinion regarding your orthopedic or sports medicine treatments or care.

Summary of Dr. Bennett’s Video on Second Opinions

Hi, I’m Dr. J Michael Bennett.  Today we’re going to talk about second opinions. This is primarily for the patient that is on the fence about whether or not they want surgery, whether they think it’s the best thing for them at that time in their life or whether they think they can cooperate with the rehab afterwards.  In our practice here, we encourage second opinions.  If there are any questions regarding our treatments, if there are any questions regarding the post-operative recovery or rehabilitation, I encourage our patients to ask for second opinions.  Here we follow a standard of care and I believe that if you do get a second opinion those doctors will agree with the process that we’re offering them.

You Almost Always Have Options for Your Treatment — Especially in Orthopedic Surgery

If you are a patient who is working with a doctor and they’re suggesting surgery, you have to understand that there is always an option, particularly in orthopedic surgery.  Unless it is a broken bone, or a broken bone that is open – meaning exposed to the air – then there is nothing that’s emergent about orthopedics unless it’s a neurovascular issue (having to do with the nerves or blood).  If the bone is exposed you are at risk for getting an infection and so you need to obviously take care of that quickly.  But when it comes to sports medicine or tendon tears or ligament tears, if there’s any question about it you should have the option of doing nothing or fixing it electively.  It is an elective procedure.  

Second Opinions Can Provide You with Assessments of Risks of Surgery and Non-Operative Management

Most patients, if they’re active, will typically want to have the surgical intervention to get back to their previous activities.  However there is a sub-set of the population that is perfectly happy not having surgery at all, which is fine.  They just need to understand the risks associated with non-operative management, which could be a number of things.  It could be weakness, it could be cramping, it could be stiffness, it could be lack of motion, it could be pain and numbness and tingling long-term – there are a number of possibilities out there associated with the risks on non-operative management.  

But that being said, there’s always the risk associated with surgery, too.  And these include infection, stiffness, having your bone heal in the wrong position or in an angulated position, having your bones not heal, or having the hardware not take.  There are a number of complications involved with surgery as well.  Unfortunately in medicine, nothing is a guarantee.  

In Providing a Second Opinion, Your Surgeon Can Review Each Treatment Option with You

Your surgeon should go over each option with you and explain thoroughly what the risks, what the benefits, and what the options are.  Typically, if you have a fracture and you cannot walk, and ambulation is the key to preventing pneumonia or having a blood clot in your legs, then obviously surgery is indicated as soon as possible.  If you have a tendon tear, or a rotator cuff tear, and you have some aches and pains particularly at night or with overhead activities in the meantime you can try therapy or you can try an injection and think about it.  

You can research it.  I highly recommend when researching these issues on the Internet to check out reputable sites such as the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery, the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, or the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.  All of those websites have access to sites that can explain the standard of care regarding your particular ailment.  And your surgeon should go over that with you.  

So if you have any questions, or any hesitations regarding your treatment, please consider a second opinion.  And make sure that you’re comfortable and confident about the decision you make and that you and your surgeon are on the same page particularly regarding post-operative recovery, physical therapy, return to play, and resumption of normal activities.  If you have any questions regarding this please feel free to contact my office.  I’m Dr. J. Michael Bennett.  Thank you.  

If you have questions about second opinions or about any aspect of orthopedics or sports medicine, please call our Sugar Land office at 281-633-8600 or our Houston office at 713-234-6346.

Dr. J. Michael Bennett

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