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OT:How important are hands to a surgeon?

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Sparda29

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Watched a couple of shows where a surgeon injured their hand or had a serious hand injury and were moaning and groaning about how their career is over. Any truth to this? Let's say you're a surgeon and your dominant hand gets smashed by a sliding door leading to all metacarpals being crushed and severe damage to the medial nerve. Can that seriously end a surgeons career, even if the metacarpals heal with limited function of the medial nerve?
 

Winged Scapula

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I think you mean the "median nerve".

Speaking from experience with a past history of median nerve entrapment, it can be quite debilitating. Because it is my nature to downplay things (and my fear of a career ending surgical injury), I allowed my problem to progress to the point where the nerve conduction in my non-dom hand was significantly slowed, I had muscle wasting in my hand and constant pain at > 90 degrees unless I was "shaking the thermometer". I had trouble opening scrub brush packets and was impaired in some yoga poses. Almost as importantly, I couldn't open potato chip bags. :p

Fortunately, with surgery I have no residual weakness or sensory deficits and was able to be back in the OR after 10 days (the surgery was absolutely painless; had it not been for the MFN sutures she put in, I honestly felt like I could have operated POD #1).

Hand injuries can be devastating. TV shows tend to overplay many things for dramatics but loss of median nerve function would likely affect the ability to grip a needle driver, forcep or other instruments, tie sutures or cut tissue. Sensory loss is meaningful as well in differentiating tissue planes manually, thickness, etc. So yes, a severe injury encompassing the entire hand could potentially be a career ending injury.
 
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Pir8DeacDoc

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Can't tell if serious..
Of course our hands are important. Duh
 
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maxheadroom

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I think you mean the "median nerve".

Speaking from experience with a past history of median nerve entrapment, it can be quite debilitating. Because it is my nature to downplay things (and my fear of a career ending surgical injury), I allowed my problem to progress to the point where the nerve conduction in my non-dom hand was significantly slowed, I had muscle wasting in my hand and constant pain at > 90 degrees unless I was "shaking the thermometer". I had trouble opening scrub brush packets and was impaired in some yoga poses. Almost as importantly, I couldn't open potato chip bags. :p

Fortunately, with surgery I have no residual weakness or sensory deficits and was able to be back in the OR after 10 days (the surgery was absolutely painless; had it not been for the MFN sutures she put in, I honestly felt like I could have operated POD #1).

Hand injuries can be devastating. TV shows tend to overplay many things for dramatics but loss of median nerve function would likely affect the ability to grip a needle driver, forcep or other instruments, tie sutures or cut tissue. Sensory loss is meaningful as well in differentiating tissue planes manually, thickness, etc. So yes, a severe injury encompassing the entire hand could potentially be a career ending injury.

And that's why I use buried Monocryls for CTRs. Just sayin'.
 

hanky1982

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For our endoscopic CTRs, we just use Dermabond. No sutures at all. One of our residents had it done (B/L) and was operating POD#2 with no issues other than occasional pillar pain and pain using the mallet. All of which went away in a few days.
 

Kahreek

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yes it can be a career halting, which is a shame, I mean surgical job is expressed through hands, but the most important assets are intellectual ones.
 

Silent Cool

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OP: Hands really aren't that important for surgeons. They can use their feet instead:

 

HighPriest

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I stopped watching SoA about that time, so I'm not sure how it turned out in the end. But I can say that character is about the least believable TV surgeon I've ever seen.
 

Kahreek

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I am pretty sure I could finish a cholecystectomy single handily , I am not sure how many people would want me to.
 
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