- Associated Press - Monday, January 26, 2015

Health advocates advise a second opinion when major surgery is recommended. Here are tips on searching for options.

-Start with the doctor recommending the traditional surgery, asking what will happen if you don’t have the operation and if there are alternative treatments, either medical or surgical.

-Ask your primary care doctor to help you find hospitals or surgeons that specialize in your condition.

-Major medical centers may offer second-opinion consultations for long-distance patients with certain conditions. Ask what medical records they need, and if your insurance will cover any charge.

-In comparing options, ask surgeons how many times they have performed a particular operation; their patients’ average hospital stay; about the type and frequency of surgical complications; and how long the different options take in the operating room.

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