The thought of going under the knife can be a dreaded one. But every day, thousands of people subject themselves to surgeries they don’t even need, whether intentionally, or because of misdiagnosis.
Prevention.com estimates that roughly 2.5 million people go into unnecessary surgery every year. All too often, people end up worse off than they were before the scalpel. Here are a few of the most common surgeries you probably don’t need.
While cosmetic surgery has helped people who suffered burns, accidents and other incidents that altered their looks, most of the procedures performed today simply aren’t needed. Breast enhancement, face lifts and nose jobs are big business, but most are often completely unnecessary.
Surgical Weight Loss
Lap band and gastric bypass surgery are performed by the thousands to help people lose weight. However, it’s an expensive and potentially dangerous alternative to good, old-fashioned diet and exercise. This surgery should really only be a consideration for those who are obese to the point that diet and exercise could be dangerous.
According to some studies, 70 percent of hysterectomies recommended by doctors and surgeons are not needed. In fact, this procedure is only second to the C Section as the most commonly performed surgery on women. While it is necessary to treat some forms of cancer and bleeding, many experts say the procedure is more often recommended even when there are plenty of other options on the table.
By some estimates, four out of five gallbladder surgeries are not needed. There’s actually a technique called laparoscopy that uses camera equipped tubes and video to eradicate stones from a gallbladder. It’s much less invasive than surgery, yet many doctors are still yanking out the gallbladder.
Sleep Apnea Surgery
Chronic snorers sometimes resort to surgery when the condition becomes unbearable. In severe cases, airflow can be blocked for roughly a minute and-a-half. While people with a condition this severe would be great candidates for surgery, some doctors and dentists recommend the procedure for far less extreme cases. There are laser techniques that have proven very effective as well as forced air masks. People with sleep apnea should consider one of those options before committing to surgery, and find out from someone with a background in medical billing and coding what might be the best and least expensive option.
This one’s a bit of a hot-button topic. While some studies suggest circumcision can protect against urinary tract infection, cancer and virus transmission, the evidence that links the procedure with any medical condition is very weak and “inconsistent,” according to Consumer Reports. While it is done as a cultural or religious tradition all over the world, the medical benefits of this surgery are likely overstated.
Back Pain Surgery
According to Consumer Reports, hundreds of thousands of people have undergone unnecessary surgery for back pain. The most common is lower back surgery, which is often performed even when other methods could be more effective. Surgery should not be an option unless the pain has lasted more than six weeks and other methods have not worked, such as steroid injections and pain relievers. Staying active will also promote recovery.
Ben Norris is a freelance writer residing in Phoenix, AZ.