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Northwestern Medicine neurosurgeon Dr. James Chandler pointing to a model of a brain while talking with a female patient.

Northwestern Medicine Second Opinions

A second opinion with a qualified specialist allows you to approach your treatment decisions with the necessary confidence to help you make the best choice for you.

When to get a second opinion

Uncertainty about surgery or a major medical procedure can drive the decision to seek a second opinion. It is important to have confidence in the diagnosis, and to get the most-current information about treatment options available to you.

For complicated, non-emergency medical situations, you should consider getting a second opinion any time you face:

  • A potentially life-threatening disease
  • An unclear or confusing diagnosis for your condition
  • Any experimental or novel course of treatment
  • Multiple and/or chronic medical conditions
  • Widely variable costs in tests or treatments

Seeking a second opinion is often an important and necessary next step for patients with serious conditions.

Second Opinion Areas of Care

Lou and Jean Malnati Brain Tumor Institute at Northwestern Medicine
Phone: 312.695.8143
Learn about getting a brain or spine tumor second opinion
Full Location Details

Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University
Phone: 312.695.0990 (866.LURIE.CC)
Full Location Details

Cancer Center at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital
Phone: 847.582.2134
Full Location Details

Northwestern Medicine Cancer Center Warrenville
Phone: 630.352.5450
Full Location Details

Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Phone: 312.NM.HEART (312.664.3278)
Learn about cardiovascular second opinions
Full Location Details

Northwestern Medicine Endocrinology and Metabolism Lake Forest Hospital
Phone: 847.535.7647
Full Location Details

Northwestern Medicine Endocrine Surgery
Phone: 312.695.0900
Full Location Details

Northwestern Medicine Digestive Health Center
Phone: 312.695.5620
Full Location Details

Northwestern Memorial Hospital Neurology
Phone: 312.695.7950
Full Location Details

Movement Disorders Center of Excellence at Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Phone: 312.695.7950
Request a staff member contacts me
Full Location Details

Northwestern Memorial Hospital Neurosurgery
Phone: 312.695.8143
Full Location Details

Northwestern Medicine Center for Spine Health at Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Phone: 312.695.1785
Learn about spine surgery second opinions
Full Location Details

Kidney, Living Donor Kidney and Pancreas
Phone: 312.695.7950

Liver Transplant and Intestinal Transplantation
Phone: 312.695.7950

Center for Comprehensive Orthopaedic and Spine Care at Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Phone: 312.695.6800
Full Location Details

Northwestern Medicine Center for Spine Health at Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Phone: 855.4NM.SPINE (855.466.7746)
Full Location Details

Northwestern Medicine Orthopaedics (Western Suburbs)
Phone: 630.225.BONE (630.225.2663)
Full Location Details

Northwestern Memorial Hospital Pathology
Phone: 312.926.1267
Ricardo Sumugod, Manager: rsumugod@nm.org or 312.926.8446

If you're interested in a second opinion or consultation, please complete our pathology consults checklist. This checklist will ensure that we have all of the necessary materials in your case.

Please mail materials to:
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Central Specimen Receiving
251 East Huron Street
Feinberg 7-307
Chicago, Illinois 60611

Female Sexual Health
Phone: 312.472.0502 or email drstreicherappt@nm.org to schedule a consultation with Lauren Streicher, MD.
Full Location Details

Male Sexual Health
Phone: 312.695.8146 to schedule a consultation with Nelson E. Bennett, MD.
Full Location Details

Before your appointment

If you are seeking a second opinion, here are some considerations to keep in mind when preparing for your appointment:


  1. Contact your healthcare plan about obtaining a second opinion. Most health insurance plans will pay for a second opinion, but it is best to check beforehand. In some cases, if you don't get a second opinion for a procedure, you may have to pay a higher percentage of the cost.
  2. Be honest and straightforward with your current physician. Ask for your medical records so you can share them with the specialist providing the second opinion. By law, your physician must give these to you, however, you may have to pay for copies.
  3. Consult with a specialist who has at least the same level of expertise as your current healthcare provider.
  4. Research your condition and treatment options so that you arrive as well-informed as possible. This will make it easier for you to effectively discuss your healthcare situation.
  5. Make sure the specialist has received your medical records, including test results—prior to your appointment—or bring your records with you to your appointment.
  6. Sometimes two heads are better than one. Consider bringing a friend or family member to listen, take notes and to also ask questions.
Patient contacting the Neurogenetics Clinic via laptop

Questions to Ask During a Second Opinion

Prepare for your Northwestern Medicine second opinion by writing down questions to ask during your appointment.

dan-olivett-better-story
I knew Northwestern was one of the elite hospitals in the United States. I knew they were a leader in cardiovascular medicine. And I told my wife, 'I'm going to call Northwestern right now.'