According to a new study published in the journal Neurosurgery, “the vast majority” of neurosurgeons operating in the US conduct additional procedures and tests out of fear of malpractice lawsuits rather than necessarily for the benefit of the patient.

Along with orthopedic surgery and obstetrics and gynecology, neurosurgery is a specialty with a high risk of expensive malpractice claims.

To examine how this risk might affect the way neurosurgeons treat their patients, researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL, sent questionnaires to 3,344 board-certified neurosurgeons on the subject of “defensive medicine.”

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