The Five Most Common Surgical Procedures in The UK

While surgeries that are extremely common are often thought of as very routine, there tends to be questions around overuse, or the tendency for doctors to perform the surgery on patients who could have lived healthy, productive lives without undergoing surgery.

For example, parents tend to go along with the doctor assertions that their child needs a particular surgery simply because they hear of all their friends’ kids getting the surgery and therefore think it’s necessary.

A perfect example is the mass tonsillectomies performed in North America 1970s, during which time over one million tonsillectomies were performed per year, a number which had dropped down to just over 500 000 per year as of 2006 as doctors began to question the usefulness of the procedure as far as streptococcal infection control.

The following is a list of the five most common procedures that are conducted in the UK each year:

The Five Most Common Surgical Procedures in The UK


A tonsillectomy is a surgical procedure that doctors perform in order to remove the tonsils from the back of the throat.

As mentioned previously, tonsillectomies have decreased in frequency since the 1970s as doctors have began to doubt that they are as effective for streptococcal infection control as was once previously thought.

As of 2009 there are only 49,000 tonsillectomies conducted annually in the UK, however there are those who feel that the NHS has cut tonsillectomies in a bid or to save money rather then to avoid unnecessary surgery for patient health.

Dilatation and Curettage: 

This surgery involves the scraping of the uterus and is used to resolve issues such as heavy menstrual bleeding; it is also very commonly used in first trimester abortions although due to the need for heavy anesthetic and risk of heavy bleeding and infection this surgery has been on the decline for the past several years.


Hysterectomy is a surgical procedure designed to remove the womb and all associated female reproductive organs.

Hysterectomies are extremely common, with over 30,000 being carried out into thousand 2012- 2013 year alone in the UK; the most common age group for hysterectomy is women between the ages of 40 and 50.

Lumbar Decompression Surgery: 

Another very common surgery in the UK is lumbar decompression surgery or surgery used to treat lower back issues that have not responded well to other forms of treatment.

There are over 20,000 spinal operations carried out in the UK annually – however some do cause injury and in such a case a medical negligence claim may be necessary.


Myringotomy is a procedure in which a very small incision is made in the eardrum in order to relieve excess pressure caused by fluid buildup.

This procedure is done mainly on children and does not require a general anesthetic, however due to risk and potential alternative treatment, the surgery is on the decline.

These are the five most common surgeries in the UK today and with any common surgery, there is the potential for overuse; if you or a loved one are determined by your doctor to be a candidate for one of these surgeries, take the time to do your homework and determine whether or not it’s absolutely necessary.

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