Why Useless Surgery is Still Popular

A patient sent me a great article from the New York Times this summer about why useless surgery is still so popular.

The upshot is that it is popular because 1) surgeries are not subjected to the same clinical trials and testing that medications are and 2) people want an easy fix.

For example, spinal fusion continues to be a popular surgery, even though research shows that non-surgical methods of treatment are just as effective.

Another example is meniscus surgery–more than 400,000 Americans have surgery to trim this sliver of cartilage that acts as a cushion in the knee. But it turns out there isn’t even a clear relationship between knee pain and meniscus tears–MRIs show plenty of people without pain have tears, and plenty of people who do have pain also have osteoarthritis, which could be the source of the pain.

Extensive research into this meniscus surgery produced the following scathing conclusion: The surgery is “a highly questionable practice without supporting evidence of even moderate quality,” adding, “Good evidence has been widely ignored.”

Where does this leave you if you have back or knee or hip or shoulder or foot pain and your doctor has suggested surgery? I highly recommend that before you agree to any surgery, you go see a sports medicine specialist with expertise in Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (whether or not it’s me, I don’t care–just find someone who can evaluate you using the DNS paradigm, which has high rates of success for treating pain).

It is very possible that with manipulations and exercises aimed at improving the body’s alignment and getting body movements into an ideal pattern, you can avoid surgery altogether. Sometimes you will still need surgery, but at least explore your options before scheduling that surgery date.

Call the office today to schedule an evaluation, and we will be able to tell you in one visit whether we can help you or whether you should go ahead with the surgery.