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How your doctor describes your medical condition can encourage you to say 'yes' to surgery when there are other options

By Joshua Zadro, NHMRC Emerging Leader Research Fellow, University of Sydney
Brooke Nickel, NHMRC Emerging Leader Research Fellow, University of Sydney
Giovanni E Ferreira, Postdoctoral research fellow, University of Sydney
Mary O'Keeffe, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Sydney
Tessa Copp, Postdoctoral research fellow, University of Sydney
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There are many factors that influence whether you choose to have surgery for a health condition.

But one you might not have considered is the very name your doctor uses to describe your condition can make you more or less likely to go under the knife, according to a growing body of research.

This is concerning because there are often less invasive options than surgery that are equally effective and safer.

What’s in a name?


Let’s take shoulder pain as an example.

Three of us (Joshua, Mary and Giovanni) published…


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