Why do Americans Continue to get Useless Surgeries?
On the surface, I think most of us would say that we wish to avoid surgery. So why do millions of Americans continue to undergo surgical procedures that are proven to be useless, bypassing much safer, less expensive and more effective methods?
There are likely a few things happening here. As a society, we are more likely today to ask our doctors questions, but by far, most people believe what their doctors tell them. If your doctor recommends surgery, it must be necessary, right? People are particularly trusting of “their” doctor. Other doctors might recommend unnecessary surgery, but not their own!
Also, people want their painful condition to go away yesterday. Surgery sounds like a much faster route to the end goal of pain relief. Lifestyle changes, changes in thought and hands on type therapies such as chiropractic and physical therapy take time, and frankly they take effort. You have to show up, you have to work hard, and you have to stick to a program.
What about our American “bigger is better” culture? Surgery is the biggest most expensive thing you can throw at a problem, so that’s what many people and doctors want. In spite of the statistics on outcomes, there are going to be patients and doctors that want only the biggest (and perceived best) solution.
Today we can look back and see the mistaken beliefs that led to harmful practices in the past. Remember back in the 1950s and 1960s when doctors were frequently removing tonsils? My own mother had her tonsils removed only because her sister was having hers removed and the doctor gave a discount for doing both children on the same day! Did you know that equally wasteful and harmful operations today are just as common? What about knee surgeries to “clean up” wear and tear or to fix a torn meniscus? What about spinal fusion? Guess what, these surgeries are just as abused and useless today as mass tonsillectomies were a few decades ago. These surgeries have no clinical evidence that they give any benefit, and in some procedures, patients were worse off for having the operation. The short term symptom relief accredited to these operations is found to be from the placebo effect! Yes, surgeries, like drugs, have a placebo effect.
We are fortunate to live in a place and time where we have all the information we need at our fingertips. Do your homework. Ask your doctor probing questions such as:
“What does the scientific evidence say about this procedure? Is it proven statistically to help this diagnosis and its outcome?”
“Can we exhaust less invasive methods and leave surgery as a last resort?”
“Do the statistics prove that I will not be made worse down the road by this surgery?”
I understand that when faced with a health challenge you can feel frightened or even desperate for a remedy. Trust your body’s healing ability. Step away from the fear. Give your body time to heal. Be honest about your physical and nutritional habits and examine your thoughts and beliefs that are contributing to your problem. Remedy the things that are lacking and you will be amazed at the healing that will happen. You can read more at this useful article from The New York Times. Read More Here
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