Fake surgery / sham surgery: What is it?
You’re going in for a surgery. It’s early in the morning and the hospital is fairly quiet except the other patients checking into the surgical area. You’re hungry and thirsty because you followed the hospital instructions not to eat or drink for 24 hours before the knife.
You meet all the surgeons and staff, they give you a surgical briefing, and they have you sign the consent forms.
Before long, it’s your turn, and the attendants wheel you into the operating theater. You’re anxious, but you calm yourself down, reassure yourself that you’ve done the research and consulted the right people. Statistically speaking, you know you have a very good chance of recovery. Before you notice it, the anesthetic takes effect and you’re out.
The surgeon holds the scalpel and with a steady hand motion, cleaves the skin. Then she stops and announces,
“Okay folks, that’s a wrap. We’re going to stitch him up and then we are done. He’s not actually getting the surgery, he gets the sham surgery.”
Why fake a surgery? That’s just mean.
We already know that the placebo effect (in its traditional understanding) works reliably, that test subjects given an inert pill (completely fake pill) in a situation where the test subjects do not know which they received, will have a positive health outcome despite, ostensibly, there being no medical reason for it. Physicians chalked it up to some bodily effect from a positive mental state, but none found the mechanism. As I’ll explain below, they were close but ultimately mistaken.
The medical system and pharmaceutical industries are starting to realize the placebo effect’s startlingly wide reach like its ability to outperform morphine for pain management in some people or that the placebo effect itself may be altered by the expectation for a drug (or intervention) to work.
A recent report from the Beth Israel Deaconess / Harvard Placebo Program (a place where they study how nothing works) suggests that even the most effective migraine headache medications on the market may be relying on the placebo effect for half of its efficiency.
Okay, but what about surgery?[youtube.com=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EKKzux5qic?start=10]
Regarding a commonly performed back operation called vertebroplasty:
… when it comes to placebos, it doesn’t get much more dramatic than what’s been called sham surgery – as Dr David Kallmes discovered a few years ago. He’s a successful radiologist at the Mayo Clinic, one of the world’s leading hospitals – it’s where the Presidents of the United States often get treated.
For the past 15 years, he’s been fixing broken backs by injecting them with a special kind of medical cement. Dr Kallmes regularly performed the procedure – called vertebroplasty – and found it hugely effective.
‘We saw terrific results from the procedure, really amazing results,’ he told me.
However, there were some questions as to exactly what was going on – because some people seemed to get better even when the operations went horribly wrong. The Daily Mail UK.
People got better even when a surgeon injected cement into the wrong vertebrae. With indications like these, a sham surgery study in the right context probably seemed appropriate.
How It Works.
“To be is to be perceived.” George Berkeley
I know I keep saying it, but this could be good for alleviating your health problems, so put aside any annoyance you have with my urging that you (and everyone) adopt an understanding of the universe through quantum theory, the most important aspect of which is the role of consciousness as a fundamental and irreducible element of the universe. It’s not so radical a concept really. Deists have known it by another name for thousands of years – the soul.
Remember the double slit experiment? Light and information travel as waves (and not particles) but when the photon becomes observed, it acts like a particle (and not a wave). The act of your observing an idea (information) can and does manifest pieces of information into particle matter reality (gas, liquid, solid, etc.)
We are perhaps less the victims of reality than we think we are. Imagine that.