Orthopedic Surgeon Tells Why to Persuade Patients Against Having Surgery

Jul 24, 2013, 10:07 ET from UBM Medica US

NORWALK, Conn., July 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- UBM Medica US announces an opinion article in Rheumatology Network by an orthopedic surgeon urging rheumatologists to help their patients decide they don't need surgery.

Rates of orthopedic surgery are generally on the rise, the number of people with age-related joint problems is increasing, and medical societies and other organizations have joined to try to reduce the number of unnecessary procedures. Meanwhile, "many patients are under the unfortunate impression that if something is torn it must be fixed," says orthopedic surgeon Howard Luks MD of New York Medical College in an article in Rheumatology Network.

In "When Not to Fix: Thoughts of an Orthopedic Surgeon," Luks points out that research and his own experience show that, when patients learn that their problem may be a normal part of aging rather than something "broken," they usually decide for less intrusive and invasive options such as physical therapy, weight loss, and over-the-counter painkillers. This surgeon urges rheumatologists, the specialists who first see people with chronic joint problems such as arthritis, to listen more to "the story the patient is telling us" and less to the results of tests such as MRI that reveal physical signs of damage.

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