ABSTRACT: Acknowledgment of the importance of patient autonomy and increased patient access to information, such as information on the Internet, has prompted more patient-generated requests for surgical interventions not traditionally recommended. Depending on the context, acceding to a request for a surgical option that is not traditionally recommended can be ethical. Decisions about acceding to patient requests for nontraditional surgical interventions should be based on strong support for patients’ informed preferences and values; understood in the context of an interpretive conversation; and consistent with considerations of safety, cost-effectiveness, and attention to effects on the health care system of expanded choice. Physicians should make sure that their counseling about specific risks and benefits is based on current evidence. After the physician has provided information and careful counseling, the patient and physician will often reach a mutually acceptable decision. If the patient and physician cannot reach an agreement, then referral or second opinion may be appropriate.
Committee on Ethics This Committee Opinion was developed by the Committee on Ethics of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as a service to its members and other practicing clinicians. Although this document reflects the current viewpoint of the College, it is not intended to dictate an exclusive course of action in all cases. This Committee Opinion was approved by the Committee on Ethics and the Executive Board of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.