I am very conservative in my recommendations for surgery. I follow this simple rule: would I encourage my wife, child, parent, or friend to have the surgery under the same conditions? I sleep well at night because I never forget this very simple guideline: treat patients as though they are family and everyone you care about is watching!
So, if I’m doing my job right, an expert second opinion will only make me look good and provide reassurance to the patient and family. If’ I’m offended by a second opinion – then I’m not following the simple rule stated above. I encourage my family and friends to get second opinions for major surgery.
As a high-volume thyroid surgeon at this point in my career, most cases seem routine to me. But surgery is never routine to the patient. Each surgery is likely the first for the patient and a lot is on the line! The best outcomes are with the first surgery. Complications and completeness of resection matter, especially to cancer outcomes. While I strive to reduce complications to the lowest possible rates, there is still risk with every surgery. A thorough and honest discussion is part of every pre-operative counseling visit. In my field of expertise, it’s literally the patient’s neck on the line!