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March 24, 1989

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy: What Does the Surgeon Do?

Author Affiliations

Missoula, Mont

Missoula, Mont

JAMA. 1989;261(12):1732. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420120064028

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To the Editor.—  The advertisement by Dornier Medical Systems, Marietta, Ga, in the September 9 issue of JAMA is of great interest to me. I am happy that "500,000 people have had their kidney stones removed without a scratch" because they did not need "kidney stone surgery" due to the availability of "extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy." My family physician advised me to have my stones removed so I inquired about lithotripsy. After all, I have read the ads and the stories for some time. I was advised that there is a "surgeon's fee" of $3077 plus the usual fees for anesthesiology and hospital care. I presume that it is not strange to you that there can be a surgeon's fee when no surgery is done. It is clearly to the advantage of the physician with the monopoly here to extract a huge sum for no surgery!It is no wonder