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can u stiil be a surgeon

Discussion in 'Physician Scientists' started by Olly5, Jun 21, 2002.

  1. Olly5

    Olly5 Member
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    if you take the md/phd route. i know this sounds like a stupid question but i just want to know if you change your mind and decide after all to be a surgeon ( after completing the degree ),is it going to affect ur getting a residency?
    Thanks
    O.
     
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  3. none

    none 1K Member
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    Yes, you can do whatever you want. The thing is...after 3 years off your life in training for a research career, are you going to want to complete another 7 years of education before you can actually start working?
     
  4. RT

    RT Rt
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    Jeez, you're going to be 40+, still in training, and haven't officially worked yet. It's a wonderful life.

    RT
     
  5. Original

    Original Ogori-Magongo Warrior
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    It happens. Though the most opted for ones are Internal med and pathology, there's of recent been a growing trend towards radiology, derm, and surgical sub-specialties. This doesn't necessarily mean abandoning a research career. Though it does mean life will be considerably more difficult. It'll also be tougher to do meaningful research since surgery hours are usually crazy. Besides, surgery is very mechanical. It's about doing and often not about thinking. MD/PhD trains you how to think and solve unexplored problems. Sharp contrast to following a standard protocol as is done in sugery. Given enough time, you can teach a monkey how to operate, but you can't teach it how to do research :D . My dad's a surgeon so I'm allowed to talk smack about them (hee hee).
     
  6. Vader

    Vader Dark Lord of the Sith
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    Actually, many MD/PhDs do go on to become surgeons. Contrary to popular belief (i.e. on this site), an MD/PhD going into surgery does NOT constitute a failure of the program. In fact, many subspecialties need more highly talented physician-scientists. At UCSF, for example, the majority of neurosurgery residents are MD/PhDs. Therefore, if surgery is an interest to you, don't think that the MD/PhD route limits your choices. On the contrary, it increases the number of available options. :D
     
  7. brandonite

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    There is an MD/PhD who works at my lab who is a surgeon... His research area is MR imaging, and he works on getting better quality images of the brain before, and even during, the operation using a mobile interoperative MR imaging system.

    That said, I would probably be scared off by the sheer length of time... :)
     
  8. Hopkins2010

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    brandonite,

    thats interesting part of my lab is devoted to interventional MRI in real time surgical imaging studies. Currently we arent doing brain surgery imaging, we are interested more in coronary procedures and using fast MRI methods to get real-time imaging data to the surgeons.

    Lets see, if I'm 25 now, then I'll be 33 when I graduate. After neurosurg residency (if i went that direction) I would be 40, and then after maybe a 3 year subspecialty fellowship or pediatric neurosurg or somehting that would put me at 43. I can hear my mom now asking me @ 43 years old if I have a "real" job yet :D
     
  9. JJ4

    JJ4 Senior Member
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    There ya go... :D
     
  10. Bikini Princess

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    It's not uncommon to see surgeon md/phd's. (Usually neuro, cardio or ent) But make sure though that your priorites are
    1. MD/PhD
    2. Surgery

    and not vice-versa - there's no need to double your time commitment if you just want to be a surgeon, and I doubt MD/PhD will help keep you in the top 5-10% of your class, or help with NRMP. :)
     
  11. Original

    Original Ogori-Magongo Warrior
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Bikini Princess:
    <strong>... I doubt MD/PhD will help ...with NRMP. :) </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Actually it will. A sh!tload even :D . Though one still has to apply onesself in med/grad school and learn as much as possible. Dedication & focus are surprisingly even more crucial for success as an MD/PhD than a regular MD or PhD alone.

    That said, you should take a peek @ MD/PhD matchlists. They are crazy! Alot of them have ~100% match rates in schools with ~67% general match rates. An MD/PhD doc @ WashU told us (during our interview tour) that the non-trad residencies like EM, surgery and the like will "pee in their pants to get MD/PhDs". Unreal. :D
     
  12. Bikini Princess

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    I believe you, original - but MD/PhD isn't computed into NRMP, is it?

    I'm curious about something else too..why would an MD/PhD want to do an EM PGP?? To do research on response times? or to research whether cricoid pressure really works? I've heard of it, but it just seems strange.
     
  13. Original

    Original Ogori-Magongo Warrior
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Bikini Princess:
    <strong>I believe you, original - but MD/PhD isn't computed into NRMP, is it?

    I'm curious about something else too..why would an MD/PhD want to do an EM PGP?? To do research on response times? or to research whether cricoid pressure really works? I've heard of it, but it just seems strange.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I really have no clue. I was just quoting the good doctor. The guy was really funny! He made us laugh throughout the tour. Perhaps Vader or FunnyBones can give us some insight as to what research an MD/PhD might do in EM. Another Q: How would basic science research training come into play in say neurosurgery?
     
  14. MacGyver

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    bikini,

    i'm not sure if the NRMP keeps track of if you are MD/PhD or not.

    But generally even if it doesnt the program directors will notice that you did the dual degree program.
     
  15. none

    none 1K Member
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    I think they'll ALWAYS notice it! It's another doctorate!
     
  16. There is no reason that an MD-PhD can't become a surgeon.

    1. Infrastructure - research is easier, yes, in certain departments (path, med, peds, neuro etc) because of the culture, infrastructure, mentorship etc. The lack of such support structure necessitates a greater effort on part of the trainee/young faculty but the obstacles are not insurrmountable. I think finding the right mentor is key. Someone who will help you clear some hurdles.

    2. Lack of topics/funding - this is not a negative factor. It may seem like there is a lack of appropriate topics but that's because research activity tends to be low in surgical fields and EM etc. For EM in particular, at my institution, there are two md-phd faculty doing research in hyperbaric med and ischemic neuronal injury in the dept. The keys here are finding interesting, fundable topics and to create collaborations with experts (as is emphasized in a nice chapter by Dr. Salter of Salter-Harris and CPM fame). In fact, I would argue that this aspect of research as a surgeon is more desirable than for a non-surgeon. Topics are wide open and funding is not as competitive.

    3. Time - typically 5-8 years of res/fellow training in both surgical and non-surgical specialties. Compare to cards/electrophys training. If you've committed to academics, you're in for life surgeon or not.

    4. Desirabily as a resident - most but not all programs will see the PhD as a plus. Some will drool others will think you're an intellectual snob. Most will fall in between but generally positive. There are a decent number of mdphds in neurosurg and g surg already. Many ent, ortho, uro programs are looking for mdphds. Even some plastics programs are coming around. Don't forget, DO WELL CLINICALLY ("honors," AOA, letters). Don't fret if things aren't perfect..they rarely are. Just do your best and don't blow thing off.

    5. Priorities as a student. My take is excel at both and everyone will want you. If you had to choose, surgery first and research second. If you're bad at research, you lose funding. If you're a bad surgeon, you kill people. Also, by and large, the intellectual leaders in surgery that happen to be mdphd (they do exist) are HIGHLY regarded surgeons not mediocre ones. Also residency training is first a clinical program and second an academic one. Excellent clinical performance can overcome okay or not-so-good research. The reverse rarely happens. However, if you're main focus is research far and above surgery, think twice. You want to become a surgeon-scientist not scientist-surgeon. Also, surgery is less about absolute percision than it is about judgement and approach. Train a monkey to do surgery - yeah, if you're running a butcher shop. Train a monkey (or build a machine as people have already done) to do minipreps, perform hybridizations etc. Not a problem.

    *What's important is that you throw away your pre-conceptions before entering a program and keep you're eyes wide open. There will be plenty of people in the future giving you advice and things will be different by the time you're applying for residency positions.

    Hopefully matching Ortho 2003
    University of Pennsylvania
     
  17. Original

    Original Ogori-Magongo Warrior
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by FunnyBones:
    <strong> Train a monkey to do surgery - yeah, if you're running a butcher shop. Train a monkey (or build a machine as people have already done) to do minipreps, perform hybridizations etc. Not a problem.
    </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">I was just kidding! :D . Thanks for the insightful info. Good stuff!
     
  18. jot

    jot

    hmm thanks funnybones - thats some good insight - good luck with the ortho
    -jot
     
  19. exigente chica

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    Actually the feild that I am pursuing for my Ph.d allows for surgery. That is the clinical part, the research is artifical organs, so I will have to surgically implant them into the patient.
    There are a number of MD/Ph.d's who do surgery, not all of them do academia! It's up to you, you decide your own path!
     

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