When Do You Need to Consider a Second Opinion?

Want options for your healthcare? That’s the beauty of a second opinion. It’s not about a fear that your doctor is wrong, but rather a hope that there are other options that may not have been apparent to the first doctor.

If you keep up with Lam Vascular & Associates, you know all the stories of second opinions we see. It normally goes something like this:

  • A patient goes to their doctor complaining that their feet are numb or that their legs get sore when walking or climbing stairs.
  • The doctor collects the symptoms and recognizes PAD.
  • The doctor sends the patient to a CARDIOvascular expert who they know and trust.
  • This cardiovascular expert can help but isn’t specifically versed in the entire vascular system.
  • The patient receives suboptimal treatment even though no doctors have done anything truly wrong.
  • Sometimes, the patient is told amputation is the only choice.

The truth is, peripheral artery disease (PAD) is not the most well known vascular condition and often it is overlooked by doctors who don’t have a history of seeing PAD and similar conditions. While cardiovascular specialists can treat some of the same conditions that a vascular surgeon focuses on, it’s not uncommon for them to be less knowledgeable about the field as a whole.

Aside from an interest in different treatment options, there are some other reasons a second opinion could make sense for you:

  • Your insurance requires a second opinion for a specific treatment
  • You’re shopping around for more affordable options
  • You have a rare or uncommon diagnosis and want more feedback
  • Your doctor isn’t a specialist in the field
  • Your insurance covers a second opinion and you’d like to double check

What to Do During a Second Opinion Appointment

You shouldn’t treat a second-opinion appointment the same as your initial appointment. You’re no longer exploring what is wrong with you but now are doing your best to determine if the diagnosis/treatment your first doctor provided is the best fit for your needs.

Your questions in the second-opinion appointment should be more direct and include a conversation about the original diagnosis. Ideally, you’d also like to have medical records forwarded or brought with you. The goal of a second appointment is to determine if an expert agrees with the original diagnosis and treatment plan and if not, determine which is the better fit for your health and lifestyle.

A second-opinion appointment can open your eyes to possibilities you hadn’t considered. This happens a lot at The Limb Salvage Center at Lam Vascular & Associates.

When is a Second Opinion Needed for Vascular Issues?

Because vascular health is a highly specialized field with many nuances, we suggest asking for a second opinion in any case where you have not seen a vascular health specialist. Of course, there are some well-known conditions, namely varicose veins, for which a second opinion may not be needed. But if you have the chance, we suggest the second opinion any time you can get it.

Why are we so adamant, you might ask. Well, taking a glance at our patient story section will offer some great insight. Dr. Lam has helped many people regain hope after they were told that amputation was their only option. But time and time again, Dr. Lam and all of the medical professionals at Lam Vascular & Associates have helped many prevent amputation surgery with advanced care.

Your Next Step

If you suspect you have PAD, whether you’ve seen a doctor already or not, the only true long-term solution is seeking treatment with an expert. Russell Lam MD is highly praised within the medical community because of his ability to find solutions that work with the lifestyle of his patients.

Schedule an initial appointment today if you need help better managing your PAD (or are experiencing any symptoms of PAD). Lam Vascular & Associates has convenient locations in Dallas and Rockwall, Texas.


The information contained in this article is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice. Patient results will vary based on risk factors, age, disease and medical history and are not guaranteed in any way.

The information contained in this website is neither intended to dictate what constitutes reasonable, appropriate or best care for any given health issue, nor is it intended to be used as a substitute for the independent judgment of a physician for any given health issue. Patient results will vary based on risk factors, age, disease and medical history. Please seek physician's advice. Like any procedure, it may come with benefits, risks or side effects associated. Click here for additional information.

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