Surgery For The Sake Of It?

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200B0120000403

Philippa Dolley takes a five-part look at operations which have gone in and out of fashion.

1: Teeth Extraction.

In the 20th century dentists removed perfectly good teeth.

But they had a theory - focal sepsis - to justify their actions.

200B0220000404

Philippa Dolley takes a five-part look at operations which have gone in and out of fashion.

2: Routine Circumcision.

In the 1930s a third of all boys in Britain were circumcised on medical grounds, yet today only four per cent are.

200B0320000405

Philippa Dolley takes a five-part look at operations which have gone in and out of fashion.

3: Tonsillectomy was the most common operation when the NHS was set up in 1948.

Today surgeons are much more reluctant to operate.

200B0420000406

Philippa Dolley takes a five-part look at operations which have gone in and out of fashion.

4: Dilatation and Curettage.

A third of all middle-aged women in Britain have undergone the procedure which involves the lining of the womb being scraped.

Evidence questioning its use emerged in the 1970s, but it was not until the 1990s that the rates of surgery declined.

200B0520000407

Philippa Dolley takes a five-part look at operations which have gone in and out of fashion.

5: Grommet surgery was popular in the 1980s with patients and surgeons.

Doctors now admit that only a minority of children with glue ear need hospital treatment.