Column Concerned About That Diagnosis from the Hospital You Just Went to?… Get a second opinion for spinal stenosis
May 12, 2023
Spinal canal stenosis is a condition that often occurs in the cervical or lumbar spine. It is caused by a compressed disc in which cracks appear, causing the central component to protrude, and the protruding portion (herniated disc) to cause a narrowing of the spinal canal. It is characterized by a variety of symptoms that impair daily life, such as difficulty in walking and the inability to walk without taking breaks along the way.
The most commonly recommended treatment for spinal canal stenosis is spinal surgery. However, there is a very real possibility that the herniation may recur after the surgery, and that condition is widely thought to be difficult to cure completely.
Many people understandably feel anxiety when they are diagnosed with spinal canal stenosis and are told that they need a surgical procedure.
If you feel apprehensive about it, we recommend that you get a second opinion.
What is a second opinion?
A second opinion involves getting opinions on a certain condition from a few different doctors in order to determine the most appropriate treatment for the patient, and one that he or she will feel comfortable with.
However, quite a few patients are hesitant to get a second opinion. They feel bad for their lack of trust, end up feeling sorry for their physician, or feel like they are betraying their main consulting doctor.
With all that said, in recent years, physicians have become increasingly aware of the importance of second opinions, and in some cases, a doctor may even go so far as to recommend one himself.
The Importance of Second Opinions for spinal canal stenosis
As mentioned above, the most recommended treatment for spinal canal stenosis is surgery. However, quite a few patients feel reluctant to undergo surgical procedures.
Those patients who are not thoroughly convinced about the necessity of getting spinal surgery should get a second opinion.
It should be mentioned that a second opinion is not necessarily useful just to avoid surgery. A second opinion can offer insights about more treatment options and advice on how to improve your condition.
A second opinion can also help you become more knowledgeable about your condition and increase your awareness about your own health. By taking an active part in your own treatment, you can also improve its effectiveness.
The best way to get a second opinion is to first consult with your primary care physician. Not only is your doctor knowledgeable and experienced in his or her own specialty, but he or she may also be able to provide you with information on how to obtain a second opinion, since he or she works in close relation with other physicians.
In addition, there exists databases of specialists on the Internet where patients can search for specialists themselves. In that case though, be sure to seek advice from a specialist in the field first, as treatments and medical treatments based only on personal judgment can be dangerous.
Second opinions are common overseas, and are often sought in the United States, Israel, and Germany by patients who have been advised to undergo surgery for back pain. Different reasons for this may be that the cause of back pain is unspecified or there is variation in diagnosis, to confirm the indications for surgery, or if objections have been raised about the risks and effectiveness associated with surgical acts such as spinal fusion. (*1)
(*1) Source: Giovanni E. Ferreira, Joshua Zadro, Chang Liu, Ian A. Harris, and Chris G. Maher. Second opinions for spinal surgery: a scoping review. BMC Health Serv Res. 2022; 22: 358.
International studies have also shown that a second opinion can help avoid unnecessary spinal surgery. (*2)
(*2) Source:Lenza M, Buchbinder R, Staples MP, et al. Second opinion for degenerative spinal conditions: an option or a necessity? A prospective observational study. BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2017; 18 (1): 354.
Free Imaging Consultation Service at our Clinic
We offer a free imaging consultation service at our clinic.
Simply send us the MRI/X-ray images already taken and a medical questionnaire to our clinic, and our doctors will remotely diagnose and recommend the best treatment for your back pain.
If you have been diagnosed with spinal canal stenosis and are in pain, please consider having an imaging consultation at our clinic.