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Surgical Skills needed for Ophtho

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fatpigeon2010

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I am an M3 very interested in ophthalmology. I did a 2 week rotation in it and really like the type of work and found it fascinating. I am planning on going into ophtho and setting up my fourth year schedule, but I had some questions for either M4s/residents/attendings. I know this has been discussed in one form or another before, but I had sort of a more specific question about it. I would ask m4s or ophtho residents, but I am at a satellite campus and won't be at the main campus for ophthalmology 4th year for another month or so.

When I started my surgery rotation, my hands would get really shaky while I would suture. It seemed to be most when I was suturing, since my attending let me handle laprascopic instruments (and actually complimented my coordination with these), and I didn't seem to shake with these. I don't know if its some mental block with sharp instruments or if it was just because I was new. It seems to have gone down some since I have had more experience, but not as quickly as I would like and its made me start to question whether I could do something as intricate as ophthalmologic surgery. I don't really have a resting tremor and I don't drink any coffee or any caffeine, I try to eat before surgeries. I've been able to do other things in my life with good hand eye coordination, but it feels like my body sort of betrays me and even if I go into the surgery mentally calm and breath deep, I still shake a little. My question is, does this just get better with time? Or would this be an uphill battle for me in ophtho?
 

kwel

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I am an M3 very interested in ophthalmology. I did a 2 week rotation in it and really like the type of work and found it fascinating. I am planning on going into ophtho and setting up my fourth year schedule, but I had some questions for either M4s/residents/attendings. I know this has been discussed in one form or another before, but I had sort of a more specific question about it. I would ask m4s or ophtho residents, but I am at a satellite campus and won't be at the main campus for ophthalmology 4th year for another month or so.

When I started my surgery rotation, my hands would get really shaky while I would suture. It seemed to be most when I was suturing, since my attending let me handle laprascopic instruments (and actually complimented my coordination with these), and I didn't seem to shake with these. I don't know if its some mental block with sharp instruments or if it was just because I was new. It seems to have gone down some since I have had more experience, but not as quickly as I would like and its made me start to question whether I could do something as intricate as ophthalmologic surgery. I don't really have a resting tremor and I don't drink any coffee or any caffeine, I try to eat before surgeries. I've been able to do other things in my life with good hand eye coordination, but it feels like my body sort of betrays me and even if I go into the surgery mentally calm and breath deep, I still shake a little. My question is, does this just get better with time? Or would this be an uphill battle for me in ophtho?

I had this concern too, but some attendings/residents told me that surgery is a very trainable field, meaning that most people are capable of doing it if given enough practice. Sure, some people have naturally better hand-eye coordination than others, but if you do something 100 times you're probably going to get good at it, regardless of your skill when starting out.
 

guttata

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Always, always support your fingers or hands (wrist or elbows) when you perform surgery. Almost everyone will have a tremor if they suture in mid-air. Most likely, your tremor will improve with this support.

IMO, you can train good surgeons, but you cannot train good hands. Some people (a minority) just don't have the dexterity.
 

Visionary

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Always, always support your fingers or hands (wrist or elbows) when you perform surgery. Almost everyone will have a tremor if they suture in mid-air. Most likely, your tremor will improve with this support.

IMO, you can train good surgeons, but you cannot train good hands. Some people (a minority) just don't have the dexterity.

Spot on. :thumbup:
 
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