4 Surgeries to Avoid and What You Can Do Instead

Up to 12,000 patients, every year die from unnecessary surgeries and even more patients have serious post-surgical complications. Regardless of how skilled your doctor is, surgery always carries certain risks for your health. Your body doesn’t care much about the surgeon’s credentials and certificates. But even among a wide variety of surgeries, here are 5 that stand out from others. These procedures are overused and have newer alternatives, which are safer and less invasive. 

Below are 4 surgeries that you need to avoid, and safer alternatives that you might like to try. 

1. Lower-back surgery

Lower-back surgery is a decompression procedure used to treat lower back pain related to a pinched nerve. During this procedure, the doctor removes the part of a bone in the back of the vertebra. To relieve pressure on the nerves or spinal cord, your doctor may consider removing one or more segments of bone. Lower back surgery is a patient’s decision in over 90 percent of cases. 

The problem is that in most cases pain and discomfort in the lower back return within a short period. Back surgery provides short-term results because it cannot change the patient’s lifestyle that has already contributed to the development of back problems.

The risks of back surgery:

  • Recurrent symptoms
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Leakage of cerebrospinal fluid
  • Loss of vision
  • Nerve injury and paralysis
  • Death (rarely)

The best alternative treatment for lower back pain is painkillers and exercise. Before reaching for the help of a spine surgeon, you need to try all conservative options like physical therapy, a healthy diet, water therapy, acupuncture, or massages. 

2. Heartburn surgery

Nissen fundoplication, also called heartburn surgery,  is a procedure used to manage acid reflux and its unpleasant symptoms. During this procedure, the surgeon restores the open-and-close valve function of the esophagus. This prevents stomach acid from entering your esophagus or mouth. However, this procedure doesn’t change the lifestyle or dietary habits of the patient. For this reason, the risk that heartburn returns in a short term is high. 

The risks of fundoplication include:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Excess gas
  • Heartburn that comes back
  • Risks of anesthesia
  • Bloating and discomfort
  • Bleeding
  • Infection

An alternative for heartburn surgery is lifestyle changes. A combination of a healthy diet, acid-reducing medication, and physical activity can help you cure acid reflux. This is a great alternative option that can improve your well-being without going under the knife. 

3. Hysterectomy

Hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that involves removing your uterus through the small incision on your abdomen. The procedure can be partial, total, or total with the removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes. Hysterectomy can be recommended if you have conditions like uterine fibroids, gynecological cancer, endometriosis, uterine prolapse, or abnormal vaginal bleeding. This procedure ends your ability to get pregnant and contribute to induced menopause. 

Hysterectomy is a generally acceptable procedure but isn’t necessary for all cases. The removal of your uterus is necessary in cases if you have gynecological cancer. But over 90 percent of hysterectomy procedures are used for the treatment of other health concerns than treating cancer. 

Hysterectomy has a number of possible complications:

  • Blood clots
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Reaction to anesthesia
  • Damage to other organs of your pelvic region
  • Infection
  • Deaths (rarely)

An alternative procedure for the treatment of uterine conditions like excessive bleeding or fibroids includes endometrial ablation. Endometrial ablation is a non-surgical procedure that allows the doctor to target uterine lining with minimal health risks. 

4. Angioplasty

Angioplasty is a procedure used to unclog blocked arteries and ensure proper blood flow within your body. During this surgery, the doctor inserts and inflates a little balloon in the clogged artery to widen the area so that blood can flow freely. This procedure is performed if you have health problems like artery blockage, severe heart disease, heart failure, or diabetes.

This procedure can be replaced with medication treatment. For non-emergency cases, taking medications is just as beneficial as angioplasty, and doesn’t require hospitalization and recovery. 

The risks of angioplasty include:

  • Re-narrowing of your artery
  • Blood clots
  • Bleeding
  • Artery damage
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Heart attack
  • Kidney problems
  • Stroke

An alternative treatment option for artery blockage is medications. Taking the right meds can help improve your well-being, unclog the arteries, and prevent serious heart conditions. Of course, medications also have several side effects, but they are less dangerous than those for angioplasty. 


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Written by Amelia Grant

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