08 Aug 2012
August 8, 2012

Online Medical Second Opinion

There are many “online” or web-based medical second opinion services.  What is the difference between radiology second opinion services and other medical second opinion services?  Why would someone choose a radiology second opinion service over other types?  Here is more information on the topic:

Second opinions in medicine are very important – as patients’ diagnoses are not always clear cut.  In these circumstances, a second – or even third opinion – can be very helpful and shed some light on the diagnostic possibilities.

Most people who get a second opinion make an appointment to see another doctor or health care provider.  They go to the doctor’s office and get a new physical exam, possibly new tests, evaluations, etc.  The other option is to seek a medical second opinion online.  Many online second opinion services are limited in that the doctors must rely on the medical records from other doctors, since they do not see the patient.  Relying on the original doctors’ physical exam findings limits the objectiveness of the second opinion.

Radiology second opinions are different.  We do “see” the patient in a virtual sense – or at least see pictures of them.  There is no need to rely on, or be biased by, other doctors’ exams or reports – it’s a much more objective assessment.  Since diagnostic medical imaging is so prevalent today, most people searching for a second opinion have likely had at least one type of radiology exam.  The careful review and interpretation of these images is crucial to diagnosing the patient and can be a critical part of the diagnostic puzzle.  Frequently, the answer is on the images.  However, if the diagnosis isn’t clear, the information obtained from the images is extremely important in ruling out other pathology and can help narrow down the possible diagnoses.

The radiology exam – whether a MRI, CT (cat scan), x-ray, mammogram, PET scan, etc – contains a lot of important information.  Doctors are human, and sometimes findings are overlooked.  If a patient has any doubts about his/her diagnosis, having a radiology exam re-reviewed is very important.  At the very least, it could give you peace of mind that the original diagnosis is correct and that nothing important was overlooked.

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