When a doctor tells you that you need surgery, it is natural to believe him or her. After all, surgeons are highly regarded in our society and often trusted by the majority of people. While a small percent of patients question their physicians and seek second opinions, most patients trust their doctors and undergo surgery.
But what if the surgery your physician recommended was unnecessary? While it may be shocking to think your doctor would recommend surgery when it isn’t necessary, it is utterly outrageous to find out that tens of thousands of unnecessary surgeries are being performed in our nation every year, according to a new USA Today review of government records and medical databases.
Why Are So Many Unnecessary Surgeries Occurring?
While some doctors believe their patients need surgery due to their lack of competence, training, and experience, there are other surgeons who intentionally recommend unnecessary surgeries to patients in order to make more money. In either event, many surgeries that aren’t necessary are being performed when they aren’t medically justified.
Types of Unnecessary Surgeries
Some of the common types of unnecessary surgeries, according to USA Today, include:
- Cardiac angioplasty and stents. About 12 percent of all angioplasty surgeries weren’t medically necessary, according to a 2011 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
- Cardiac pacemakers. In a 2011 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers found that there was no medical evidence to support 22.5 percent of implantable cardioverter-defribrillator surgeries.
- Back surgery and spinal fusion. According to a 2011 study in the journal Surgical Neurology, over 17 percent of patients who received spinal surgery did not need the surgery.
- Hysterectomy. Many women are told every year that they need hysterectomies; however, there are other less aggressive, non-surgical treatments that many doctors don’t recommend to their patients. As a result, about 70 percent of hysterectomy cases are unnecessary, according to a 2000 study for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
- Knee and hip replacement. After patients received information on alternatives to joint replacement surgeries, researchers noted that approximately 26 percent of patients had fewer hip replacements and 38 percent had fewer knee replacements, according to a 2012 study in Health Affairs.
- Cesarean section. C-section rates vary across hospitals; however, even with lower-risk pregnancies, cesarean rates varied from 2.4 percent to 36.5 percent, according to a 2013 study in Health Affairs.
If your doctor tells you that you need surgery, we hope the information in this article will reveal how important it is to have a second opinion. You might just find out that you don’t need surgery after all.
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