What Is Unnecessary Surgery?

The definition of “unnecessary surgery” has never been made very precise. A useful definition might be provided by the economist’s notion of patient costs and benefits as they would be calculated by a fully informed patient-consumer. Combining both clinical information and consumer preferences, it is impossible to demonstrate unnecessary surgery for most diagnoses. Conclusions in recent Congressional reports on unnecessary surgery are not supported by evidence likely to benefit either individual physicians or patients.

Author(s): Mark V. Pauly

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Volume 57, Issue 1 (pages 95–117)
Published in 1979