Tips to avoid unnecessary surgery:

•Ask questions: Why is the surgery necessary? What are the risks? What happens if the surgery isn't performed? Are there non-surgical treatments that might be effective?

•Educate yourself: Research the procedure and the physician recommending it. Check with state medical boards; ask how much experience the doctor has with this procedure. Look at data on the surgery's outcomes and risks research non-surgical alternatives.

•Get a second opinion: Consult another specialist from a different practice or hospital. Often, there is no harm in letting the surgery wait a bit to consider additional views.

USA TODAY INVESTIGATION: Thousands get unnecessary surgeries


•Choosing Wisely Campaign: http://www.abimfoundation.org/Initiatives/Choosing-Wisely.aspx

•Consumers Union/Consumer Reports: http://www.consumerreports.org/health/free-highlights/manage-your-health/needless_surgeries.htm

•The Empowered Patient Coalition: http://www.empoweredpatientcoalition.org/downloads/free/ep_guides/EP_ten_things_surgical_patient_checklist.pdf

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