By Phillip C. Querin

[PCQ Note: In lieu of a serious real estate article, I’ve opted to publish the following spoof which I prepared shortly after reading an article appearing in a major newspaper on the

benefit to owners who sell their home without using a Realtor®. This is not meant as a slap at those brave souls who endeavor to sell their own home – the final decision is (or should be) based upon a rationale cost-benefit analysis. But in today’s dynamic and changing real estate landscape, with short sales, investor offers laden with contingencies, and other new and

challenging transactions, it occurs to me that a good Realtor® today can add significant and real value to the home selling experience.]

Despite the fact that they are healthier and living longer, many Americans are still paying a walloping 6% of their annual income on doctors.

At first blush, 6% may not sound like much, but consider this: According to statistics, the average price of an appendectomy today is $9,000, up 50% from only 20 years ago. This is a hefty penalty for being healthy, and one that more and more Americans are unwilling to pay.

Many Americans are now opting to perform their own appendectomies using online services such as SutureSelf.com and StitchInTime.com. And there’s good reason for going to the Web: one recent survey found that 80% of Americans used the Internet when thinking about having surgery.

Performing your own appendectomy online is simpler then you might think, says Gaylord Bobkins, CEO of the British firm, BloodyEasy.com, a leading advocate of self-help online surgery. Here are the three key steps you need to take:

1.Determine Your Diagnosis. If you’re working without a doctor, the first and most important step is to get an accurate diagnosis, says Bobkins. To do so, simply visit an association of professional diagnosticians. There is also a group of free services on the Web that allow you to input your height, weight, age, physical condition, and approximate location of your appendix. With pictures and virtual tours, the online service will guide you through the proper technique to determine if you need your appendix removed. Most such services disclose that they have a margin of error of only 7% to 10%, so the risks of something going wrong are really quite minimal.

2.Performing The Surgery. The goal when performing your own appendectomy, says Bobkins, is to make sure to have a steady hand, a high pain tolerance, and a willingness to accept risk. The surgery itself can be fairly simple, with little more than a soft cot, a clean scalpel and a large hand mirror.

3.Sewing Yourself Up. Once you complete the surgery, you need to call in the professionals. There are many professional seamstresses who, for a nominal hourly fee, would be willing to complete the operation. Regardless of who handles the suturing, you shouldn’t expect to pay more than about $500, says Bobkins, noting that life-long scar is a small price to pay for all the money you’ll save.

So, how much do you stand to gain by leaving the doctor out of this process? According to Bobkins, performing your own appendectomy online is likely to save you thousands of dollars. With so little risk and so much to save, more and more Americans will likely be performing their own appendectomies in the future. After all, it’s not brain surgery.