Modern medicine has given us a multitude of test and treatment options, but sometimes it is hard to know if the test your doctor is offering is truly needed.
Since 2012, the Choosing Wisely campaign has coordinated with leading medical specialty societies to identify medical procedures and treatments that are commonly overused, and may not be backed by evidence that shows they help. On Feb. 21, the campaign released a new list of 90 common tests, procedures and medication therapies that are not always necessary.
Here are 11 of their findings. To see the full list, visit the Choosing Wisely website .
Induction of labor and C-sections
Delivering before 39 weeks of pregnancy carries risks including learning disabilities and respiratory problems, according to the The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and American Academy of Family Physicians.
Both groups recommend not inducing labor or scheduling Cesarean deliveries before the 39 week mark, unless there is a medical necessity.
Feeding tubes for dementia patients
Studies show that patients with advanced dementia do not benefit from the use of feeding tubes. The tubes could actually lead to the development of ulcers and cause more distress, which may in turn result in increased use of physical and chemical restraints.
The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and American Geriatrics Society say that patients do better with oral feeding which can also be a source of comfort and human interaction.
Annual Pap tests
Women 30-65 years old, may not need yearly Pap tests.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that, for women with average risk, annual screenings have not shown an advantage over screenings every three years. The society, however, still says women should still go to an annual "well-woman" visit to discuss any concerns and problems.
CT scans for kids' head injuries
About half of children who visit the ER with a minor head injury are given a CT scan. But, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, unnecessary exposure to x-rays can be harmful to young people because children's brains are more sensitive to ionizing radiation.
What's more, unnecessary CT scans add lots of costs to the U.S. health care system. The academy recommends doctors clinically observe a child with a minor head injury instead of using a CT scan for immediate evaluation.
Echocardiographic stress tests
People with no symptoms and a low risk of heart disease -- such as those without a family history -- should avoid stress tests that use echocardiographic images, says the American Society of Echocardiography. There is little evidence, a stand-alone stress test can predict risk for heart problems, according to the society.
Medication for geriatric diabetes
The American Geriatrics Society says that adults ages 65 and older with Type 2 diabetes do not benefit from using medication to tightly control their blood sugar levels. Such medications, they say, are actually associated with risks that include a higher mortality rate.
EEGs for headaches
About 20 percent of people have recurrent headache, which is the most commonly reported pain problem, according to the American Academy of Neurology. It recommends avoiding EEGs (electroencephalography) for people with recurrent headaches because the test has shown no advantage over clinical evaluation.
Therapy for infant acid reflux
Treating acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in infants should be approached differently than treating adult patients.
The Society of Hospital Medicine says that acid suppression therapy should not be routinely used with infants. They say the treatment has not be proven effective for GERD symptoms in babies and there is emerging evidence that it could be harmful.
Medications for kids' respiratory infections
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that cold and cough medicines should be avoided for respiratory illness in children under four years old. There is an increased chance of accidental overdose with such products and research has not found them to be beneficial to young children.
The academy also recommends that antibiotics should be avoided for viral respiratory illnesses such as sinusitis, pharyngitis and bronchitis. They warn that unnecessary medication in such cases can lead to antibiotic resistance.
Lyme disease testing for aches
Testing for Lyme disease is not necessary unless patients have specific symptoms of the disease and have a history of exposure, according to the American College of Rheumatology.
The group warns that Lyme testing in the absence of these features increases the change of false positive results and unnecessary treatments.
PET/CT screening for cancer
The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging recommends not using PET/CT for cancer screening in healthy patients. They say there is only around a 1 percent chance of finding cancer in healthy adults and the screenings could lead to unnecessary tests, biopsy or surgery.