9 Apr 2016

Surgery, the ultimate placebo?

From This Way Up, 1:15 pm on 9 April 2016

Could many operations and surgical procedures employed in hospitals today be working as a powerful placebo?

Ian Harris

Ian Harris Photo: (Supplied)

Professor Ian Harris is an orthopaedic surgeon based in Sydney. In his book Surgery, the Ultimate Placebo he argues that many times we go under the knife, the operation is useless and can even be harmful.

He is not saying ALL surgery is bad – he is a surgeon himself, after all – but he does think that many common surgeries like back fusion, cardiac stenting and knee arthroscopies have not been sufficiently researched.

LISTEN to Professor Ian Harris in conversation with Simon Morton.

"Patients have to ask for the evidence. They should be saying to their surgeon 'What evidence do you have that this operation is better than any non-operative alternative?" ~  Ian Harris.