9 common medical procedures you may not need

  • Skip it. Full-body computed-tomography (CT) scans, which can cost $1,000, have been touted as a way to detect early signs of cancer and heart disease. But if you're healthy, they're of no proven benefit. The American College of Radiology warns that they can lead to costly and potentially risky follow-up exams to check out harmless abnormalities that otherwise would have gone undetected. And then there's the risk of radiation. "The average radiation dose from medical imaging has increased more than six-fold over the last 30 years, with CT scans being the largest contributor," says Dr. David J. Brenner, director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University. "We've found that full body CT scans expose patients to far more radiation than conventional plain film X-rays and consequently a higher lifetime risk of cancer deaths, about one in 1,250 for a 45-year-old adult and one in 1,700 for a 65-year-old adult," he said. istockphoto

    patient, doctor, nutritionist, talking, medical, stock, 4x3

    Are medical tests the best way to make sense of odd symptoms or to catch unsuspected illnesses? Not always.

    Doctors from nine U.S. medical societies are warning patients and fellow physicians that many common medical tests are actually unnecessary - and may do more harm than good. The tests are also driving up the country's already skyrocketing health care costs.

    The medical societies, representing 374,000 physicians, launched an initiative called Choosing Wisely, listing a total of 45 procedures that patients should question before having done.

    Keep clicking to see 9 common medical procedures that patients should question...