Second opinion before operations – second opinion

Second opinion before operations

    List of operations
  • hysterectomy
  • tonsillectomy

(PantherMedia / iakovenko123) For certain, non-urgent operations, there has been a statutory, so-called second opinion procedure since the spring of 2019. This means that a doctor recommending one of these surgeries must point out the right to discuss the decision for or against the procedure with another specialist for free.

This procedure applies to the following operations:

Some health insurances also provide their members with advice from a second, specialized doctor for other surgeries, such as operations on the spine, knees and hips.

Many diseases have more than one treatment option. Often, however, none of the alternatives is ideal, each has its advantages and disadvantages. Then it depends a lot on the personal situation and your own wishes, which is the best choice. Consulting a second doctor may help in the decision.

In addition to the operations covered by the statutory second -mentation procedure, different doctors also advise very differently, as comparisons have shown. Some quickly guess an operation, the others hold back.

Some patients are reluctant to question medical recommendations. The second opinion process should ensure that all patients have the opportunity to make an informed decision in peace.

If any of the above operations have been recommended to you, the doctor will usually need to inform you of your right to a second opinion at least ten days before the scheduled surgery. Detailed information about your entitlement to a second medical opinion can be found in a leaflet of the Joint Federal Committee (G-BA).

If you feel well informed and have no questions, you do not need to do anything. The second opinion is a voluntary offer that you do not need to use.

If you would like to get a second opinion, you will find a list of available doctors on the Internet. You can also ask your health insurance provider for suitable specialists.

Statutory health insurance in Germany have free choice of doctor. Therefore, there is always the possibility to ask for advice about a health problem more than a doctor. The advantage of the second opinion procedure is that the doctors have to have a special qualification for the second opinion. You may not work in the same practice or clinic as the first doctor. And they must not be busy at the hospital where the operation is supposed to take place.

If you have chosen a doctor for a second opinion, make an appointment for an interview.

I will be examined again?

The doctor needs your previous documents such as findings and examination results. You will find out what documents are needed when making an appointment. You can get the findings from your first doctor’s office. Or you can send them directly from there to the second doctor. Both are free for you.

As a rule, the second doctor will not re-examine you, but will read your documents and ask supplementary questions. If further examinations make sense, the doctor will discuss this with you.

What do I do with the second opinion?

The second doctor will discuss the recommendation with you. You can then decide freely on what you believe to be the best treatment, for example canceling a scheduled surgery. If you wish, you will also receive a written summary. You can also have this recommendation sent to your first doctor.

Further support in dealing with difficult decisions can be found in our More Knowledge “Informing and deciding".

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Christina Cherry
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