Need surgery? Should you avoid your surgeon’s birthday?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Researchers have examined many factors that can influence the outcome of surgery — both obvious and not-so-obvious ones. A recent study asked whether having surgery on the surgeon’s birthday had any effect on how patients fared.

Treating the pain of endometriosis

Endometriosis occurs in women when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows in other places in the body, most commonly within the pelvis, causing pain and other symptoms. Many women with this condition are not diagnosed properly until middle age. There are several options for treatment, and it may take time to find what works best for each person.

Reducing your risk of changes in thinking following surgery

As more older people undergo surgeries, the risk of complications increases, including for cognitive decline following their procedures, particularly after cardiac surgery. But awareness and pre-planning with your care team can help you avoid such complications.

Is angioplasty plus stenting or coronary artery bypass surgery better for treating left main coronary artery disease?

People with disease of the left main coronary artery usually have the option of bypass surgery or angioplasty and placement of a stent. Two recent studies comparing these choices came to different conclusions about which is more effective.

Knee arthroscopy: Should this common knee surgery be performed less often?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

There is already evidence that knee arthroscopy for osteoarthritis does not help most people. A study attempted to determine if the results would be better for people with osteoarthritis and a torn meniscus.

Weight-loss surgery may lower risk of heart disease in people with diabetes

Angela Fitch, MD


Most people with type 2 diabetes also have obesity. Weight-loss surgery has a positive impact on risk factors for heart disease, and a recent study found that this surgery significantly reduced the risk of death in people with obesity and diabetes.

Coming clean: Your anesthesiologist needs to know about marijuana use before surgery

Regular marijuana users who need surgery should disclose their use ahead of the procedure, because of its effects on the body and on the anesthesia medications required for sedation.

TAVR: Aortic valve replacement without open-heart surgery

A catheter-based treatment for aortic stenosis has shown good results in higher-risk patients, and recent clinical trials in lower-risk candidates have also been favorable, meaning that this treatment will likely become the standard for all patients with this condition.

MitraClip: Valve repair device offers new treatment option for some with severe mitral regurgitation

Mitral valve regurgitation is a condition in which the heart’s mitral valve does not close properly. Until recently this could only be treated by medication or surgery, but a new device helps “close the gap” between the faulty valves.

Is obesity a reason to avoid joint replacement surgery?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Overweight people are often turned down for joint replacement surgery, or told to lose a lot of weight first. But a new study found that having obesity should not be a deterrent to having joint surgery.