JohnnyQ

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Hey I am interested in surgery, and was wondering if someone can comment on the average length of time for a typical operation that takes place in your particular specialty/subspecialty of surgery.

I am especially interested in:

General surgery, Urology, ENT, Ophthalmology, Orthopedic surgery, Dermatology, Neurosurgery, Thoracic surgery, Plastic surgery, Pediatric surgery, Vascular surgery, Surgical Oncology, Burn surgery, etc.

What specialties typically have operations that last 2 hours? 4 hours? 8 hours? 16 hours?

Any input you have would be helpful!
 

Winged Scapula

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All specialties have short surgeries (some less than 30 minutes) and long ones. For example, ENT can have very difficult facial reconstruction cases which take the better part of a day and 15 minute myringotomies.

Very few have anything routinely approaching 16 hours (unless you are talking about separating conjoined twins, transplantation of limbs, faces, etc.) although my intern once did a 12 hour esophagectomy when I refused to scrub with that slow ass attending.
 

tussy

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I do general and colorectal surgery and my average is 2 hours. Mostly bowel resections. I do lots of 1 hour procedures (lap choles, appys, hemorrhoids, etc) and lots that are longer, but the average is about 2 hours.
 

pincheeric

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We perform circumcisions and vesectomies that take 15 minutes or less. Cystoscopy, stent placements, and such take just a few minutes as well. We also do post-chemo RPLNDs for metastatic testicular CA that in the past 5 weeks have taken 20 and 22 hours. Cystectomies routinely take ~6-8 hours. The majority of general urologic surgeries, though, take between 1 to 4 hours.
 

ESU_MD

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in academic cardiac surgery, the attendings can walk in, go on pump- clamp the aorta and do an average 3-4 vessel CABG in ~30mins, then walk out. leaving the resident with the tasks of weaning, decannulation, drying and closing.

of course a whole team of anesthesia has had to spend an hour getting the pt ready for the case, the avg resident takes ~another hr to position, prep, drape, harvest lima and cannulate

so life as an attending seems pretty good- providing you can make it that far!
 

MR1

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Ophthalmology

Our bread and butter, cataract surgery takes a high volume guy\gal 5min, slow ass residents could take 1-2 hours. Avg is probably 15-20 min

The rest of our stuff, is anywhere from a few minutes up to maybe 2-3 hours for a big orbital surgery or retina case
 
OP
J

JohnnyQ

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Hey this is all really great information. I really appreciate the advice. Thanks for all of your input!

Would any of you by any chance have any comments about pediatric surgery, orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, plastic surgery, vascular surgery, surgical oncology, burn surgery?

What surgical specialty probably has a lot of bread and butter cases that are approximately 4 hours?
 

JackADeli

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...What surgical specialty probably has a lot of bread and butter cases that are approximately 4 hours?
I am at a loss to come up with any....
I think vascular if you consider AAA repair bread and butter (and that would be stretching the case out fairly longer then normal). Otherwise, any number of specialties can have some long procedures, but bread & butter usually under 2 hours.

JAD
 
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I know I'm pre-med, but let me give you an example of a day I shadowed an ortho. He had a resident with him to work some cases and close each patient, and 2 ORs for himself. There's no telling how much $ he made this day...

7:30: OR 1- start arthoscopic knee surgery
8:15: OR 2- start total knee arthroplasty
9:15: OR 1- start total hip arthroplasty
10:45: OR 2- start total knee arthroplasty
11:45: OR 1- start total hip arthroplasty
12:45: OR 2- start total knee arthroplasty
2:00: last patient closed

Total: 6 procedures in 7-8 hours, averaging 45min-75min each.

This ortho specializes in total joint replacements, which consists of 80% of his procedures. This was his OR day, so he didn't have any patients to see in his clinic. I'm sure he had other office duties and patients to round on, but I'm sure he was home by 5.

I've always been interested in surgery, especially ortho. I know some orthos are busier than others (especially during call), but this seems like the life.
 

Winged Scapula

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The above scenario would be next to impossible for any university hospital and most community hospitals.

They rarely allow a surgeon to run two ORs (largely because they don't want to staff two rooms) and the turn-over time is ridiculous at most places. The ASCs typically are much more lenient and quicker - the staff stays until you are done, so it behooves them to move quick.

But lets not lie to the kids and let them think that most surgeons, even Orthopods, can run that efficiently outside of an ASC.