What is unnecessary surgery?

  • Mark Pauly
  • Published 1979 in
    The Milbank Memorial Fund quarterly. Health and…


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.

Cite this paper

@article{Pauly1979WhatIU, title={What is unnecessary surgery?}, author={Mark Pauly}, journal={The Milbank Memorial Fund quarterly. Health and society}, year={1979}, volume={57 1}, pages={95-117} }