Deciding whether to have brain or spinal surgery is not always easy. There are often different surgical methods to choose from, with different benefits and risks that need to be assessed. A second opinion supports you in the decision-making process and confirms that your treatment concept corresponds to the latest state of modern medicine.
Why is a second opinion often useful?
Does the operation really have to be performed? Why exactly this operation? What can I expect? It is not always clear after a discussion with the attending physician why an operation is necessary or sensible and for what reason a particular surgical method was chosen. Patients often feel the need to know more about the risks of the operation or possible treatment alternatives.
Depending on the treatment plan, various points may differ:
- Suggested surgical technique
open, microsurgical or endoscopic surgery
- Choice of surgical strategy
minimally invasive, radical or staged plan
- Safety aspects
Intraoperative monitoring, extended risk assessment, functional control during surgery
Medical associations explicitly support an additional consultation and the wish of patients to obtain a second opinion. This procedure helps to find the optimal therapy for the patient and to avoid treatment errors.
Where should patients seek a second opinion?
The best place is with an experienced specialist, because the number of cases, expertise and state-of-the-art technology are decisive for the success of the operation. Equally important, however, is the trust you should have in your doctor.
In order to filter out the most suitable surgeon and the right hospital from the abundance of offers, it is worth taking a look at the decisive facts:
- How often has this operation already been performed? This number can be partly determined with the help of the official hospital statistics or the public statistics of the federal government.
- Is the specialty on which you want to obtain a second opinion a focus at the hospital of your choice? Are there national and international publications, i.e. publications of your own results in public scientific journals?
- Is there objective proof of quality, such as official certification as a tumour centre or spine centre?
- Have the surgeon and the hospital also been recommended by other patients?
Today, offering a second opinion is a necessary quality criterion for being considered a centre for specialised treatment.
At the Inselspital, we are very happy to provide you with advice and support. Make an appointment with us in the Neurosurgical Polyclinic or in the Chief Surgeon's Office.