New doctor portal against unnecessary operations

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Recognized senior doctors start internet portal against senseless musculoskeletal operations

There is too much surgery in Germany; this view is represented by twelve experienced surgeons who are recognized in the professional world. The doctors are therefore planning an information portal on the Internet against "unnecessary operations". Patients who are concerned about surgery can get a second opinion.

Are operations performed too quickly in Germany in principle? In conventional medicine, too, the principle of salutogenesis (the powers of self-healing) has arrived in many specialist areas. Instead of delivering unnecessary surgery to patients, alternative healing concepts should also be considered. In the new issue of Der Spiegel, 12 leading German surgeons have announced that they will launch a new online campaign "against superfluous operations". The doctors want an online portal with the title “Caution! Operations ”. Patients should get an independent second opinion on their suffering quickly and easily. The basic prerequisite is that a surgical intervention has been proposed to the person concerned by the doctor.

Operations that do more harm than good Interventions due to structural problems of the musculoskeletal system have increased rapidly in the past ten years. On the one hand, more and more people complain of symptoms such as back pain, flank pain and pain in the limbs due to their sedentary work. On the other hand, despite recent findings, the scalpel is used far too quickly. With the portal, the doctors now want to tackle the high number of operations on the back, knees, hips and shoulders. Because in their view, many interventions do not even help or even worsen the symptoms. The university lecturer and surgeon for knee joints, Prof. Dr. med. Hans Pässler to the "Spiegel": "I can not watch how operations are carried out out there that bring nothing to the patient, but only benefit the doctor". Pässler is one of the main initiators of the medical advice portal. The medical specialist Professor Dr. Jürgen Harms criticizes the high and sometimes unnecessary interventions in herniated discs. According to his information, almost half (40 to 45 percent) could be treated without surgery. The experienced spine specialist himself has had to diagnose countless negative examples in his professional career. "I've seen too many interventions that ended in terrific failures," said Harms. And then the doctor saw patients with herniated discs who recovered even without surgery. "Without surgery," as the specialist emphasizes.

Experienced doctors in particular are called upon to curb the flood of unnecessary operations, such as the chief surgeon for plastic surgery, Dr. Ulrich Steinau told the magazine. We have therefore teamed up as "senior surgeons" to provide patients with serious and objective support. In fact, all of the portal's doctors have been active in science and medicine for decades. Many of the experts teach in medical schools.

Second opinion is not free
Interested parties can already get information on the website “”. However, the service is not free of charge. Depending on the effort of the report, sums of 200, 400 and 600 euros are due. Complex diagnoses can incur even higher costs, as can be read on the website. The patients have to bear the costs themselves, since so far only a statutory health insurance company, the German company health insurance company and the private health insurance company Debeka have announced that they will at least signal interest. Whether health insurers and private insurers will start reimbursing costs depends on the form in which the second opinion portal meets with approval and how the statistical benefits ultimately turn out. However, the health insurance companies should be very interested in saving cost-intensive operations if the alternative proposals result in more benefits and less costs.

Diagnosis using a doctor's report and MRI image In order to carry out a diagnosis, those affected can use secure file transfer to transfer MRI, CT, X-ray images, evaluation of reports from previously consulted doctors (e.g. from an operation, an examination, etc.) and laboratory findings online. In addition, a comprehensive online form must be completed. The doctors then want to prepare a diagnosis within two weeks and tell them their position as to whether an intervention is necessary from their point of view or not. However, before you have to bear the costs, an offer is first made after reviewing the documents. Only then can the patient decide whether to pay for the second opinion or not. (sb)

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