Individuals would be shocked at the number of unnecessary surgeries performed in the United States annually. Unnecessary surgery, by definition, is exactly what it sounds like; “Any surgical intervention that is either not needed, not indicated, or not in the patient’s best interest when weighed against other available options, including conservative measures”. Fortunately, there are easy, effective actions that you can take to avoid going under the knife. 

avoid unnecessary surgery

Four Ways to Avoid Undergoing Unnecessary Surgery 

Be educated. 

Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor questions to gain a better understanding of how the recommended procedure will help you in the long run. Will this surgery get rid of your pain? Will this surgery help improve the way your body operates? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, ask them to explain exactly how it will help. The same thing goes for understanding the risks. Be aware of common complications as well as worst-case-scenario situations. Being fully informed will allow you to make whatever decision is best for you. You are your biggest advocate. 

Know your doctor. 

Research your physician and/or surgeon to be sure you are comfortable with the person who is taking care of you. Look into their board certifications, their success rate for the surgery they are presenting to you, and the number of times they have performed the procedure. There is nothing wrong with being certain you are in the best hands and receiving the best care. 

Consider any alternative treatments. 

Not all cases of illness or chronic pain require surgery. Be sure to discuss any and all alternative courses of treatment with your physician. Symptom management or watchful waiting may be the route to go; monitoring your symptoms while holding off on surgery to see if your condition improves, worsens, or remains the same. 

Prioritize a healthy lifestyle. 

You’ve heard this one time and time again and it still rings true. Get moving, even if you’re just taking a daily ten-minute walk. Drink plenty of water. Focus on eating a whole-foods or low-fat diet. Be sure you are getting adequate sleep every night. Modifying your lifestyle to incorporate healthier behaviors ultimately leads to a healthier you. 

It is understandable that sometimes surgery is the best course of action for patients. However, you should never feel pressured to move forward with any medical treatment that you are not comfortable with. Be educated, know your doctor, consider alternative therapies, and prioritize a healthy lifestyle. These four steps alone may help you, or a loved one, avoid an unnecessary surgery.