Ten Major Medical Procedures You May Be Able to Prevent

May 16, 2023

Introduction

Adopting a prevention and wellness mindset is crucial to maintaining good health and avoiding unnecessary medical procedures. By focusing on lifestyle changes and preventive measures, individuals can significantly reduce the risk of developing various health conditions that may require invasive treatments. In this article, we will discuss ten major medical procedures that can be avoided by adopting a healthier lifestyle, along with an explanation of each procedure and the potential complications involved. We will also provide recommendations on how to prevent the need for these procedures through lifestyle changes and early detection strategies.

 

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) Surgery

CABG surgery is a major procedure that involves taking a healthy blood vessel from another part of the body and using it to bypass a blocked coronary artery[1]. The surgeon makes a large incision in the chest and temporarily stops the heart to perform the procedure, which can be quite bloody and carries a risk of complications such as infection, bleeding, stroke, and heart attack. The mortality rate for CABG surgery is around 3%, depending on the patient's overall health and the surgeon's experience[2].

To prevent the need for CABG surgery, individuals can maintain a healthy lifestyle by focusing on a balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress management. Keeping cholesterol levels in check, monitoring blood pressure, and avoiding tobacco can also help prevent the buildup of plaque in the arteries that can lead to coronary artery disease[3].

 

Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is a procedure aimed at reducing the size of the stomach or bypassing part of the digestive system to help patients with obesity lose weight[4]. This surgery can be quite invasive, with significant risks such as infection, bleeding, blood clots, and complications from anesthesia. The overall mortality rate for bariatric surgery ranges from 0.1% to 2%, depending on the specific procedure and patient risk factors[5].

 To avoid the need for bariatric surgery, individuals should focus on maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise. Addressing the root causes of obesity, such as emotional eating, stress, and lack of sleep, can also help prevent the need for this procedure. Seeking support from healthcare professionals or support groups can be beneficial for those struggling with weight management[6].

 

Hip Replacement Surgery

Hip replacement surgery involves removing a damaged hip joint and replacing it with an artificial joint made of metal, plastic, or ceramic materials[7]. This procedure can be quite invasive and bloody, with potential complications such as infection, dislocation, blood clots, and nerve damage. The overall mortality rate for hip replacement surgery is around 0.3-0.6%, depending on the patient's age and overall health[8].

 To avoid the need for hip replacement surgery, individuals should maintain a healthy weight to reduce stress on their joints, engage in low-impact exercises to strengthen the muscles around the hip joint, and avoid activities that can cause hip injuries. Early detection and treatment of conditions like osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can also help prevent hip joint deterioration[9].

 

Hysterectomy

A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of a woman's uterus, sometimes along with other reproductive organs such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes[10]. This procedure can be invasive and bloody, with potential complications like infection, blood clots, and damage to nearby organs. The overall mortality rate for hysterectomy ranges from 0.1% to 0.3%, depending on the patient's age and overall health[11].

To avoid the need for a hysterectomy, women should maintain a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and stress management. Regular gynecological check-ups and early detection and treatment of conditions such as endometriosis, fibroids, and pelvic inflammatory disease can help prevent the need for this procedure[12].

 

Colonoscopy and Polypectomy

A colonoscopy is a diagnostic procedure that involves inserting a flexible tube with a camera into the rectum to examine the colon for polyps or other abnormalities[13]. If polyps are found, they can be removed during a polypectomy. While colonoscopies are generally safe, there are risks of complications such as bleeding, infection, and bowel perforation. The overall mortality rate for colonoscopy and polypectomy is around 0.007%[14].

To avoid the need for a colonoscopy and polypectomy, individuals should maintain a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet high in fiber and low in red and processed meats, regular exercise, and avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption. Regular screenings for colorectal cancer, as recommended by healthcare professionals, can also help detect and treat polyps before they become cancerous[15].

 

Angioplasty and Stent Placement

Angioplasty is a procedure that involves using a balloon-tipped catheter to widen narrowed or blocked coronary arteries. A stent, a small mesh tube, may also be placed in the artery to help keep it open[16]. While angioplasty is less invasive than CABG surgery, it still carries risks such as bleeding, blood clots, and damage to the blood vessels. The mortality rate for angioplasty and stent placement is around 1.5%[17].

To avoid the need for angioplasty and stent placement, individuals should maintain a healthy lifestyle, focusing on a balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress management. Monitoring cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and avoiding tobacco can also help prevent the buildup of plaque in the arteries that can lead to coronary artery disease[18].

 

Appendectomy

An appendectomy is the surgical removal of the appendix, usually performed to treat acute appendicitis[19]. This procedure can be invasive and bloody, with potential complications like infection, bleeding, and damage to nearby organs. The overall mortality rate for an appendectomy is around 0.2-0.8%, depending on the patient's overall health and the presence of complications such as a ruptured appendix[20].

While the exact cause of appendicitis is not always clear, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet high in fiber and regular exercise, may help reduce the risk of developing appendicitis. Early detection and treatment of appendicitis can also help prevent the need for an appendectomy or reduce the risk of complications[21].

 

Gallbladder Removal (Cholecystectomy)

Cholecystectomy is the surgical removal of the gallbladder, typically performed to treat gallstones or other gallbladder disorders[22]. This procedure can be invasive and bloody, with potential complications like infection, bleeding, and bile leakage. The overall mortality rate for cholecystectomy is around 0.3-0.6%, depending on the patient's age and overall health[23].

To avoid the need for gallbladder removal, individuals should maintain a healthy lifestyle, focusing on a balanced diet low in fat and cholesterol, regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight. Early detection and treatment of gallstones or other gallbladder issues can also help prevent the need for this procedure[24].

 

Cataract Surgery

Cataract surgery involves removing the cloudy lens of the eye and replacing it with an artificial lens to improve vision[25]. While generally considered a safe procedure, there are potential complications like infection, bleeding, and retinal detachment. The overall mortality rate for cataract surgery is very low, at around 0.01%[26].

To avoid the need for cataract surgery, individuals should maintain a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet rich in antioxidants, regular exercise, and protecting their eyes from excessive sun exposure. Regular eye exams and early detection and treatment of eye conditions can also help prevent or delay the need for cataract surgery[27].

 

Hemorrhoidectomy:

A hemorrhoidectomy is the surgical removal of hemorrhoids, which are swollen veins in the lower rectum and anus[28]. This procedure can be bloody and painful, with potential complications like infection, bleeding, and urinary retention. The overall mortality rate for hemorrhoidectomy is low, at around 0.02%[29].

To avoid the need for a hemorrhoidectomy, individuals should maintain a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet high in fiber, regular exercise, and staying hydrated to prevent constipation. Proper bowel habits, such as not straining during bowel movements and avoiding sitting on the toilet for long periods, can also help prevent the development of hemorrhoids[30].

 

Concluding Thoughts

Adopting a prevention and wellness mindset is essential for maintaining good health and avoiding the need for major medical procedures. By focusing on lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a balanced diet, engaging in regular exercise, managing stress, and staying informed about one's health, individuals can significantly reduce the risk of developing various health conditions that may require invasive treatments. Additionally, regular check-ups and early detection strategies can help identify potential health issues before they escalate, further reducing the need for major medical procedures.

 

References

[1] American Heart Association. (2017). What is Coronary Bypass Surgery? Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-attack/treatment-of-a-heart-attack/coronary-artery-bypass-grafting.

[2] Cleveland Clinic. (2022). Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery. Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/16897-coronary-artery-bypass-surgery.

 [3] American Heart Association. (2021). Heart Attack. Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-attack/prevention-and-treatment-of-heart-attack.

[4] Mayo Clinic. (2020). Bariatric Surgery. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/bariatric-surgery/about/pac-20394258.

[5] Chang, S. H., Stoll, C. R., Song, J., Varela, J. E., Eagon, C. J., & Colditz, G. A. (2014). The effectiveness and risks of bariatric surgery: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis, 2003-2012. JAMA surgery, 149(3), 275-287.

[6] National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2022). Weight Loss. Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/tips-get-active/tips-weight-loss-success

[7] American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. (2021). Total Hip Replacement. Retrieved from https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/treatment/total-hip-replacement.

[8] Singh, J. A., & Lewallen, D. G. (2009). Age, gender, obesity, and depression are associated with patient-related pain and function outcome after revision total hip arthroplasty. Clinical rheumatology, 28(12), 1419-30.

[9] Harvard Health (2013). Avoiding knee or hip surgery. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/hip-replacement/expert-answers/hip-replacement/faq-20058301.

[10] Mayo Clinic. (2019). Abdominal hysterectomy. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/hysterectomy/about/pac-20384543.

[11] Aarts JW, Nieboer TE, Johnson N, Tavender E, Garry R, Mol BW, Kluivers KB. Surgical approach to hysterectomy for benign gynaecological disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Aug 12;2015(8):CD003677.

[12] American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2021). Hysterectomy. Retrieved from https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/hysterectomy.

[13] American Cancer Society. (2022). Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/screening-tests-used.html.

[14] Ko, C. W., Riffle, S., Shapiro, J. A., Saunders, M. D., Lee, S. D., Tung, B. Y., ... & Kimmey, M. B. (2007). Incidence of minor complications and time lost from normal activities after screening or surveillance colonoscopy. Gastrointestinal endoscopy, 65(4), 648-656.

[15] American Cancer Society. (2021). Colorectal Cancer Risk Factors. Retrieved from https://www.cancer.org/cancer/colon-rectal-cancer/causes-risks-prevention/risk-factors.html

[16] American Heart Association. (2021). Heart Procedures and Surgeries. Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-attack/treatment-of-a-heart-attack/angioplasty-and-stent-placement.

[17] Bangalore S, Toklu B, Amoroso N, Fusaro M, Kumar S, Hannan EL, Faxon DP, Feit F. Bare metal stents, durable polymer drug eluting stents, and biodegradable polymer drug eluting stents for coronary artery disease: mixed treatment comparison meta-analysis. BMJ. 2013 Nov 8;347:f6625.

[18] American Heart Association. (2021). Heart Attack. Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-attack/prevention-and-treatment-of-heart-attack.

[19] Mayo Clinic. (2021). Appendicitis. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/appendectomy/about/pac-20388268.

[20] Drake, F. T., Mottey, N. E., Farrokhi, E. T., Florence, M. G., Johnson, M. G., Mock, C., ... & Flum, D. R. (2014). Time to appendectomy and risk of perforation in acute appendicitis. JAMA surgery, 149(8), 837-44.

[21] Cleveland Clinic (2021). Appendicitis. Retrieved from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/8095-appendicitis#:~:text=How%20can%20I%20prevent%20appendicitis,experts%20can't%20explain%20why.

[22] Mayo Clinic. (2021). Cholecystectomy. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cholecystectomy/about/pac-20384880.

[23] Giger, U. F., Michel, J. M., Opitz, I., Inderbitzin, D. T., Kocher, T., & Krähenbühl, L. (2006). Risk factors for perioperative complications in patients undergoing laparoscopic cholecystectomy: analysis of 22,953 consecutive cases from the Swiss Association of Laparoscopic and Thoracoscopic Surgery database. Journal of the American College of Surgeons, 203(5), 723-728.

[24] National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2021). Gallstones. Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/gallstones.

[25] American Academy of Ophthalmology. (2021). Cataract Surgery. Retrieved from https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-cataract-surgery.

[26] Lundström, M., Behndig, A., Kugelberg, M., Montan, P., Stenevi, U., & Pesudovs, K. (2011). The outcome of cataract surgery measured with the Catquest-9SF. Acta Ophthalmologica, 89(8), 718-723.

[27] American Academy of Ophthalmology. (2021). Eye Injury Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/protecting-your-eyes.

[28] Mayo Clinic. (2021). Hemorrhoids. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/hemorrhoidectomy/about/pac-20385110.

[29] Riss, S., Weiser, F. A., Schwameis, K., Riss, T., Mittlböck, M., Steiner, G., & Stift, A. (2012). The prevalence of hemorrhoids in adults. International journal of colorectal disease, 27(2), 215-220.

[30] National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2021). Hemorrhoids. Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/hemorrhoids.

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