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No one wants to go under the knife but sometimes it is necessary to enhance the quality of life or even to save it. However some surgeries have no benefit for many people and instead put them at risk. You may ask, “Why would anyone put themselves at risk if there were no gain?” The answer would be that they just don’t know. The two operations discussed are over performed for a variety of reasons: some are moneymakers for hospitals and doctors, others are expedient, and still others seem to work, at least in the short term. However scientific evidence shows that all have questionable long-term outcomes for treating certain conditions, and some may even cause harm.

Stents for Stable Angina:

Having a heart attack is a great reason for getting a stent. But if your heart disease is diagnosed as stable angina, chest pain brought on by exertion or stress, a stent will not prolong your survival any more than exercising or taking statins to lower cholesterol will. This was brought to light in a 2007 Department of Veterans Affairs study. Despite stents’ ineffectiveness, close to 500,000 are implanted each year for stable chest pain.

Hysterectomies for Uterine Fibroids

Each year approximately 600,000 American women have hysterectomies and studies show that the vast majority are unnecessary. A hysterectomy is critical when the patient has cancer (which is the case for about 10 percent of those women). But most patients undergo the procedure for quality-of-life concerns such as heavy bleeding or pain caused by uterine fibroids — benign growths in the uterine wall.

A surgeon performing this medical procedure, no matter what method they use, must take great care to avoid cutting, nicking or entirely perforating (meaning damage by cutting) the patient’s bowel or colon. There is a danger associated with hysterectomies because the uterus and associated anatomic structures, like ovaries, are very close to various portions of a patient’s bowel and/or colon.

If you suffer from uterine fibroids, ask your doctor about other options, including uterine-artery embolization, in which the arteries leading to the uterus are blocked, causing the fibroids to stop growing. You might also consider a new procedure, focused ultrasound, which shrinks fibroids via ultrasound waves.

As North Carolina (NC) medical malpractice attorneys we know that thousands of people are seriously harmed or die as a result of preventable medical misdiagnosis as well as medical malpractice. Although we inherently trust our doctors to care for our health, medical malpractice is more common than you think and being informed about your rights before and after a procedure is critical to protect yourself.


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