Ever felt that the doctor has advised an unnecessary surgery? No amount of fuming can undo the torture your body has gone through. It is always better to know which common surgeries can have alternative treatments. This article highlights surgeries that are frequently suggested, but which can be avoided.
This incident occurred a few years ago. In the middle of the night, my dad woke up with a piercing, unbearable pain in his stomach. Now, my dad being as fit as they come, we were in a right panic as we rushed him to the hospital. After examination, the doctor discovered that he had developed kidney stones, and taking advantage of our panic, suggested that we admit him right away and that he would operate on him before dawn. My father hates taking medicines, and so his first reaction was to oppose this suggestion vehemently. We decided to take a second opinion and went to another doctor. This doctor was the type who had taken up this noble profession to help people instead of milking them for money, so he calmed us down by telling us that kidney stones are common, can be dissolved with medicines, and that surgery was unnecessary! My dad took the medicines he prescribed and was free of the stones within a few months. Needless to say, we never went back to the first doctor.
I’m sure many of you out there have been in similar situations and given in to the panic, blindly placing your trust in your doctor, only to undergo unnecessary surgery. Such medical malpractices are pretty common and the only chance to avoid being tricked, or taken advantage of, is to arm ourselves with a little knowledge and to keep our wits about us in panicky situations. This article aims at providing that basic knowledge. It will list the most common surgeries that are unnecessary and can be avoided. The next time you are in a tricky situation where a medical practitioner tries taking advantage, you’ll be better prepared to tackle him.
List of Unnecessary Surgeries
Hysterectomy: Hysterectomy, even though it promises women a period free life, can have serious long term consequences, like increase in heart and vascular diseases, side effects and surgical risks, and should be avoided. There are a few hormonal and non hormonal alternatives to hysterectomy, which are prescribed, like oral contraceptives, androgens, NSAIDs, uterine balloon therapy, etc. Dr. Herbert Goldfarb says in Null’s Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Healing that 750000 hysterectomies are performed every year and 2500 women die due to the operation.
Gallbladder (kidney stone) Removal: Gallstones can be dissolved by making a few changes in your diet and by taking prescription medication to dissolve them. Unless they are really big in size and causing unbearable abdominal pain, surgery should be avoided.
Cataract Surgery: If your activities are not being hampered on a daily basis because of your cataract, then it is advisable to avoid this surgery. The complications associated with cataract surgery are endophthalmitis, retinal detachments, dislocated intraocular lens implant, cystoid macular edema, etc
C-Sections: The smallest discoloration or unusual discharge in urine and stools of pregnant women makes them panic, which is amply justified. But make sure you actually need a C-Section because it is very painful after the surgery, and takes a toll on the mother’s health, besides requiring a long recovery time. Slow and painful labor can also lead to the doctor to suggest a C Section. An epidural can be considered as an alternative, to relieve the pain.
Dental Surgeries/Implants: Many dentists prefer quick surgeries instead of treating the condition over a long period of time, specially if, monetarily, surgery is more profitable than a stretched out treatment.
Appendectomy and Tonsillectomy: The slightest complaint of pain or swelling in your throat or stomach can prompt the doctor to suggest this surgery. While swelling is definitely a cause for concern, it is better to get a second opinion to ensure if you do, in fact, need either of these surgeries.
Lower Back Surgery: Lower back surgery is not justified even if you have been suffering from back pain for a month or two. Try traction, or explore other physiotherapy options to relieve backache.
By-Pass Surgery: The major risk associated with bypass surgery is failure of the procedure leading to fatal heart attacks. This procedure should be opted for in extreme cases.
Arthroscopic Surgery: This has become a quick-fix solution for doctors. It is a comparatively easy surgery while still costing a lot.
Sleep Apnea Surgery: Sleep apnea can be treated by CPAP or BiPAP machines, or breathing exercises, and other alternative treatments for sleep apnea can be opted for, before considering surgery.
Cosmetic Surgery: Many a time, birthmarks and other skin allergies leave undesirable patches on your skin. No surgery is required in these cases. Laser treatments have proven effective in removing any marks from skin.
Carotid Endarterectomy: Similar to bypass surgery, there is risk of stroke and death with this surgery.
Jaw Surgery: Jaw pain or locked jaw syndrome can be irritating, but it can be treated by simple muscle exercises to loosen the jaw muscles, medicines (muscle relaxants), ice packs etc.
Angioplasty: Angioplasty does not help in increasing longevity of life. It is a temporary solution with high risk factor. Lifestyle changes are more effective and go a long way in improving the condition of your heart. There are quite a few risks associated with angioplasty.
Prostatectomy: One of the major risks of prostatectomy is erectile dysfunction, which can seriously hamper the patient’s sex-life, and is a cause for concern.
Mastectomy: There is associated risk of necrosis and numbness of breast tissue with this surgery. Double check before you opt for it.
Medical malpractice is a serious offense, and asking patients to undergo unnecessary surgery counts as a malpractice. Gary Null, Ph.D, says in Death by Medicine that around 7.5 million unnecessary surgical and medical procedures are performed every year. Statistics reveal that there are almost 12000 deaths per year due to unnecessary surgeries.
A report by Milliman and Robertson, Inc., published in 1995, concludes that 60% of the surgeries performed are unnecessary. When you are in a situation where the doctor tells you that surgery is the only way, do not work up a panic. Stay calm and seek a second, third, and if required, even a fourth opinion, till you are convinced that surgery is the best solution for your ailment. At no cost must you agree to go under the knife, till all your doubts are satisfactorily answered.