Beware of the knife, USA Today reports of too many unnecessary surgeries.

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Beware of the knife, USA Today reports of too many unnecessary surgeries. USA Today has reported that there are too many surgeries that are being done for profit rather than medical necessity. In our practice, many patients avoid the knife by finding out that there are other reasons for them being in pain and other solutions that may not have been offered by their orthopedist or other doctor. Procedures, tests such as MRI's are often used as tools to convince the patient in pain to have a procedure done. Worse, many are sent for sham therapies which fail and when they do, the person then is convinced they need the surgery, which may have had more effective conservative options that would have worked much better. Often, the site of symptoms is not the reason for the pain, with the shoulder being a great example. The other day, a patient who was not seen for years was having shoulder pain he believed was due to weight lifting. What he found out is that he had problems in his feet and pelvis (read more about this in Dr. Charschan's book Cheating Mother Nature, what you need to know to beat chronic pain). If he had the standard approach to care on his shoulders, he would surely have worsened, and worse, he may have been coerced using fear as a tool to possibly have unnecessary test and possibly a surgery. In other instances, people who are know knowledgeable are duped into having pacemakers and other surgeries that are not necessary and are not needed, sometimes with horrible results. The consumer needs to be more savvy. Read the article here Doctors perform thousands of unnecessary surgeries USA TODAY study found that tens of thousands of times each year, patients undergo surgery they don't need. Jonathan Stelly was 22, a semi-pro baseball player aiming for the big leagues, when a fainting spell sent him to his cardiologist for tests. The doctor's office called afterward with shocking news: If Stelly wanted to live to age 30, he was told, he'd need a pacemaker. Stelly knew it would be the end of his baseball dream, but he made a quick decision. "I did what the doctor said," he recalls. "I trusted him." Months after the surgery, local news outlets reported that the Louisiana cardiologist, Mehmood Patel, was being investigated for performing unnecessary surgeries. Stelly had another doctor review his case. Then another. And another. They all agreed: He needed blood pressure medication, but he never needed the pacemaker. Today, Patel is in prison, convicted of billing Medicare for dozens of unnecessary heart procedures. Stelly, now 34, still has the pacemaker - but the doctors shut it off years ago. "Baseball was my life, and he took that away," Stelly says. "For nothing." Tens of thousands of times each year, patients are wheeled into the nation's operating rooms for surgery that isn't necessary, a USA TODAY review of government records and medical databases finds. Some, such as Stelly, fall victim to predators who enrich themselves by bilking insurers for operations that are not medically justified. Even more turn to doctors who simply lack the competence or training to recognize when a surgical procedure can be avoided, either because the medical facts don't warrant it or because there are non-surgical treatments that would better serve the patient. read more