Before you go to the doctor, know this: You may not need that test, scan or pill! That's the message from the American Board of Internal Medicine, a nonprofit organization made up of the top medical specialty groups. They just released a list of common tests, treatments and procedures that people don’t need. Some are merely unnecessary and costly, while others are downright dangerous! For example:
Beware of doctors who recommend a CT scan for kids with minor head injuries. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, half of all kids who visit the ER with a bump on the head get a CT scan. But new research shows that the younger kids are, the more likely these scans are to raise a child’s risk of developing cancer! So, save them for severe head injuries because one CT scan has as much radiation as 47 mammograms, or 400 chest x-rays.
Think twice about agreeing to any kind of imaging for lower back pain, including MRIs and x-rays. Because new studies show that imaging is rarely useful for making a diagnosis. Experts say the only exception is if your pain’s lingered for more than six weeks, and doctors have tried all other treatments.
An EEG for patients with recurring headaches. EEGs are tests where sensors are attached all over the head, to record electrical activity along the scalp. Experts say they’re great for tracking brain disorders, and diagnosing things like tumors and strokes. But studies show zero evidence that EEGs provide any benefit for headache patients.
Prescribing antibiotics for a sinus infection, which happens with 80 percent of patients with sinusitis. Experts say the problem is that sinus infections are caused by viruses – not bacteria – so antibiotics have no effect on them!