If the orthopedist wants to inject saline into your arthritic knee, it's time to say no thanks. Same for taking the popular supplements glucosamine and chondroitin for arthritis pain.
Why? There's no good evidence to prove they'll help you.
Those are two of the latest additions to lists of medical don'ts for doctors and patients.
The reasoning behind the lists is simple. A lot of things that doctors do to patients won't do them any good. Besides being wasteful, some of the tests and treatments may lead to harm.
In a perfect world, data gleaned from clinical trials would get distilled into guidelines about which treatments work best. Doctors would follow the guidelines, making allowance for a person's particular circumstances. Patients would get high-quality, cost-effective care.
But medicine isn't perfect. Even when doctors get paid or punished to change their ways, they often don't.
Research has shown that there are a lot of reasons why doctors don't follow evidence-based guidelines. They include not knowing about the guidelines; disagreeing with them; working at a place that doesn't support change; or just not being motivated to change.
The five not-so-great orthopedic treatments posted today are part of a coalition effort by dozens of medical specialties to change that, called "Choosing Wisely." The procedures to skip, based on guidelines from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, are:
The Choosing Wisely program has been cranking for over a year, and the site has collected lists of treatments to avoid from almost two dozen medical specialty societies. It's full of surprises. No antibiotics for pink eye? Who knew?