MSN published a very informative article regarding unnecessary surgeries in America recently. It highlighted statistical findings and data research compiled by the Choosing Wisely Campaign (an organization led by the American Board of Internal Medicine and Consumer Reports, outlining disturbing information pertaining to the eight most common surgical procedures. The American Medical Association prides itself on upholding their doctors to the sacred Hippocratic oath, "Do no harm," but the business of our current modern and very much "struggling" healthcare system is under the hot radar, and for medicine being all about the calculated numbers and statistical probabilities, these sad numbers beg the question, "What's failing the people, and why so much error?"
✤ "12% of all angioplasty procedures, which often include the insertion of stents, weren't medically necessary.
✤ In 22.5% of cases in which a cardiac pacemaker/implantable cardioverter-defibrillator was installed, no evidence supported that decision.
✤ In 17% of cases in which patients were told they needed back surgery/spinal fusion, no neurological or radiographic findings indicated such an operation was necessary.
✤ Among patients told they needed total knee replacement surgery, 38% who received information about joint replacements and alternative treatments decided against the procedure.
✤ Similarly, 26% of patients who received additional information about hip replacements decided against them.
✤ In 43% of colonoscopies, no clinical indication showed a need for the procedure.
✤ A study from earlier this year, looking at data from nearly 600 hospitals nationwide, found the rate of cesarean section deliveries varied tenfold across those hospitals -- from just more than 7% of all births to nearly 70%.
✤ 70% of hysterectomies were inappropriately recommended, "often because doctors didn't attempt treatment with non-surgical procedures.”
If you are at the doctor's office and receive a diagnosis or suggestion by your healthcare professional that deems surgery is the route to getting better and the only (or best) answer, the following is a list of questions you should ask before signing your name on the dotted line and putting on the OR gown. Being as thorough as possible will help you minimize your chances of opting for an unnecessary surgery.
Go with a friend or family member to the open dialogue. Research the doctor or surgeon and understand his stance on medicine. Have the doctor show you illustrations and step by step surgery methods.
Sources: Spine-health.com, Msn.com, johnhopkins.org, USA today.