USA Today article suggests tens of thousands of unnecessary and dangerous surgeries are being performed in the U.S. every year
The USA Today just printed an interesting article highlighting six common surgeries that are often performed unnecessarily, including spinal fusions, knee and hip replacements, pacemakers, angioplasty, hysterectomies and C-Sections. Multiple studies have found that tens of thousands of people are being recommended for surgeries that are medically unnecessary and may cause needless suffering, complications, poor outcomes and even death. The article states that patients: “…fall victim to predators who enrich themselves by bilking insurers for operations that are not medically justified. Even more turn to doctors who simply lack the competence or training to recognize when a surgical procedure can be avoided, either because the medical facts don’t warrant it or because there are non-surgical treatments that would better serve the patient.”
In our practice, we have seen many people who have had spinal fusions, discectomies, laminectomies, with poor results and are seeking relief for their continued pain and worsening of their spinal condition. Unfortunately, once surgery has been done, it can’t be undone and we do our best to help them. The same is true for hip and knee replacement surgical patients who come to us after being recommended for further surgeries. The point of this blog article is to educate as many people as we can to seek a second opinion before undergoing the knife.
Health Link Medical Center has been privileged to be selected and licensed by Regenerative Sciences / Regenexx to provide their advanced regenerative “cell based” technologies to patients at our Oceanside and Mill Valley locations in California. We have been providing these procedures since 2011 and saving people from expensive surgeries that carry significant risk of complications.
The most common complaints that we receive from our patients is “why didn’t my doctor tell me that this exists?” or “Why did my orthopedist tell me that stem cell procedures are far from proven and do not recommend it?” The second most common complaint is “Why doesn’t my Medicare or insurance cover your procedures?” And finally, “Why is your treatment so expensive?”
So here are some answers! Unfortunately, busy medical professionals cannot keep up with the rapid progression of non-surgical technologies and through ignorance or bias do not inform their patients of new non-surgical alternatives. Therefore, it is important for each patient who has been recommended for a surgical procedure to do some research about the procedure and what criteria is used for surgical recommendations. It is also important to seek a second opinion from a doctor who specializes in non-surgical options.
The reason that Medicare and Insurance carriers do not cover cell based regenerative procedures is that they are considered “Experimental and Investigational”. What that means is these carriers have not been convinced with the current research available that justifies these procedures. Unfortunately, these authorities use different and hypocritical criteria for cell based procedures then they have used for the coverage of surgical procedures, medical tests and other treatments that have shown to have inadequate evidence of effectiveness and safety. We also know that there are strong economic incentives to exclude or include various treatments that are promoted by financially affected parties. However, the real cost is in the pain, suffering and irreversible outcomes that people suffer. When patients also consider the costs of deductibles, co-pays, lost time from work and the hard and long recovery program compared with the cost of a cell based regenerative treatment protocol, the “out of pocket” costs are not unreasonable.
If you have been told that you have pain due to arthritis and are experiencing altered motion and function, the first thing you should consider is non-invasive therapy such as Chiropractic, Physical Therapy, Weight Loss Program, and nutritional supplements. There is a place for Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatories, however these drugs should be taken infrequently. You may also consider Viscosupplementation injections of the knee and other arthritic joints for temporary relief (be sure that your doctor does not add anesthetic or steroids as they can kill your bodies stem cells you need for healing). If those are not satisfactory and you want to be more active and not wait until you degenerate further and need surgery, I suggest that you contact us and schedule an in-depth candidate evaluation. The Regenexx family of stem cell procedures and platelet rich plasma treatments may offer you the best solution for your situation.