Medical indication

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(The following text or part of it is quoted from the free Wikipedia article Indication (medicine):)

In medicine, an indication is a valid reason to use a certain test, medication, procedure, or surgery.[1] There can be multiple indications to use a procedure or medication.[2] An indication can commonly be confused with the term diagnosis. A diagnosis is the assessment that a particular [medical] condition is present while an indication is a reason for use.[3] The opposite of an indication is a contraindication,[4] a reason to withhold a certain medical treatment because the risks of treatment clearly outweigh the benefits.

In medicine, operating on living people is only permitted after the (adult) patient has been fully informed about the risks of the operation and has given his/her voluntary consent. In children, there must be an urgent medical indication for the operation. If there is no medical indication, the parents cannot give consent on behalf of their children who are not yet legally capable of giving consent. Otherwise it is a criminal offense. This form of legally inadmissible and therefore non-binding parental consent is regularly present in the case of child circumcisions that are not medically indicated.

Invalid medical indications

A physician will always have to assure himself that his diagnosis is describing a pathological state at all and that all other less invasive treatments have been tried before surgery is made. If a physician e.g. diagnoses phimosis in a newborn and derives a medical indication for circumcision, that indication is invalid in almost all cases because phimosis is a natural condition after birth. According to the latest medical guidelines for phimosis and paraphimosis, most previously misdiagnosed forms of phimosis are in fact physilogical (natural) and do not require any treatment at all. In addition, parents can always get a second opinion from another doctor.

Some doctors, not following the latest standards, still misdiagnose pathologic phimosis in young children so they can operate and have health insurance cover the costs.


  1. REFweb Indication - Medical Definition and More from Merriam-Webster (archive URL). Retrieved 14 December 2010.
  2. REFnews "Indications for Drugs: Approved vs. Non-approved by", MedicineNet. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  3. REFweb What's the Value of the Drug Indication? | Clinical Drug Information, Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  4. REFweb Contraindication - Medical Definition and More from Merriam-Webster (archive URL). Retrieved 14 December 2010.