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What are some cool surgeries I should observe?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by wes431, Jun 1, 2008.

  1. wes431

    wes431 2+ Year Member

    Apr 28, 2007
    I can basically get to observe any surgery I want. What are some really interesting or amazing ones I should try to get on?
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  3. MilkmanAl

    MilkmanAl Al the Ass Mod Physician 7+ Year Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    Kansas City, MO
    hSDN Alumni
    I saw a woman with really bad rheumatoid arthritis have her foot sawed apart and reconstructed. That was pretty cool. If you can get in on an abdominal surgery of some kind, I'd go for that.
  4. jelly476

    jelly476 7+ Year Member

    Feb 10, 2008
    One word: Plastics. Plastic surgery is always cool if a bit gross haha. Watching a doc peel away the skin and start shaving away the fat is always awsome in that gross sort of way. Cardiac surgery (open heart only) is also cool as you get to watch them open the patient and fiddle with the heart while the patient is on a bypass. Im sure brain surgery is also cool but i would think its hard to observe as they dont crack open the head but instead use small incisions. Anything with laproscopy is also interesting because you can watch it all on a camera and if you get a good doc they will explain it all to you. Anything where the incisions are small and cameras are not being used should be avoided (read aneurism or something like that) until you get to med school and can get up close.
  5. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse Administrator Physician SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Jan 9, 2006
    "Observe," or "scrub in on"? In other words, how close to the sterile field will you be allowed to come?
  6. Tygacil

    Tygacil Phar_MD 5+ Year Member

    May 9, 2008
    I got the opportunity to observe a CABG the other day. I stood at the head of the bed, with the CRNA and just looked down - it was amazing, if you don't mind the cauderizing of flesh. Anyhoo, the patient was in afib and you could tell... his right atrium was going nuts! It was incredible.
  7. neuro1617

    neuro1617 2+ Year Member

    Aug 10, 2007
  8. Maxprime

    Maxprime Higgs chaser 5+ Year Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    For starters - just observe some easy stuff - hernia repair, appendectomy, etc. They're shorter, you can ask stupid questions, etc.

    As for cooler ones - probably a personal thing. CABG is tough to beat - watching someone stop a human heart isn't something most people get to witness. I think ortho stuff would be cool to watch (never have observed ortho) b/c of the large size and clear structures. Plastics has some cool surgeries (as stated) - the whipple is pretty ridiculous. It's a balance of how much you care, how interested you are, and how long you can stand in one place without having to go pee. Just watch a bunch until you find what you like. :)
  9. anomalous738232

    anomalous738232 2+ Year Member

    Nov 12, 2007
    i haven't seen a lot, one to mention was a podiatric surgery. lady had a severe bunion. the cool part was that she was also clinically diagnosed for ADD, so she had a long history with amphetamines. the anesthesiologist had an extremely difficult time completely sedating her; she had these random spasms and would jerk her leg (opposite to the one being operated on) in response to her bone being abraded. it was pretty sweet
  10. DocSoMa

    DocSoMa 2+ Year Member

    Apr 6, 2008
    Orthopaedic surgery, especially spinal deformity/correction surgeries. Pretty sweet.
  11. ZagDoc

    ZagDoc Ears, Noses, and Throats 10+ Year Member

    Jul 12, 2007
    Find a reconstructive plastic surgeon. You want to talk about some really exotic and creative stuff in the OR... that's the stuff.

    So one where the surgeon harvested the kids costal cartilage... and made it into a replacement auricle for his ear.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2008
  12. WDeagle

    WDeagle 5+ Year Member

    Feb 1, 2008
  13. CSnowFoxD

    CSnowFoxD 5+ Year Member

    May 21, 2007
    Cardio surgeries are pretty cool, but it's hard to see much since everything is so deep inside after they open the sternum. You'd think brain surgery is cool, but you can't see anything but a tiny hole in the skull (usually?) unless the surgeon lets you look into the scope thing, which I have no idea what is called... Ortho stuff you usually get to see a lot, and I think it was cooler than open heart surgery just because you get to see more.

    I think the coolest surgery I've seen is an above the knee amputation. The surgeon had to leave and go take a shower because of all the blood and then come back and finish up!
  14. Climberak

    Climberak Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    May 14, 2007
    Thoracostomy is pretty neat.
  15. Character

    Character 5+ Year Member

    Apr 23, 2008
    i enjoy anything anal
  16. AlexMorph

    AlexMorph 10+ Year Member

    Aug 11, 2007
    what the great character means to say is, its all about individual preference

    i believe a previous poster echoed the same sentiment

    what kinda surgeon do you want to be? watch surgeries in that dept. to see if you really like that stuff

    and then just try to get a sampling of different stuff to make sure you know what you wanna do in life, you will be set in medical school!
  17. jelly476

    jelly476 7+ Year Member

    Feb 10, 2008
    oh yeah amputations are pretty cool too if a bit sad. I mean come on, it's someone's leg or arm getting sawed off. I carried the leg down to the morgue and it was still warm........
  18. the donkey

    the donkey 5+ Year Member

    Mar 28, 2008
    Another for open heart- if you get the opportunity. One i thought was pretty ridiculous was a parathyroidectomy. Dude removed this patient's parathyroid glands and implanted a fraction of it in the forearm.

    That plastics stuff sounds awesome :thumbup:
  19. LikeClockWork

    LikeClockWork Guest

    Jul 23, 2007
    Orthopaedics are cool since people seem to think that surgery is a delicate and careful science. Seeing someone just wrenching and cracking bones in someone's leg or arm is a pretty neat experience. :thumbup:
  20. chemnerd31

    chemnerd31 2+ Year Member

    Apr 9, 2008
    The two most amazing procedures that I have seen are a full knee replacement and a gastric bypass. Those were by far the best. I was also cool when I asked if that was the intestin and the surgeon pulled a hand full out to show me the different things.
  21. 172858

    172858 America = The New Texas 2+ Year Member

    Oct 23, 2007
    saw a corpectomy and fusion of c4 and c6. friggin' amazing.
  22. pretender

    pretender 5+ Year Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    I would stay away from anything involving bowel/intestines unless you have a strong stomach. I personally don't enjoy the smell of burning crap and flesh combined.
    CABG is by far the coolest in my book.
  23. MWK

    MWK Over-represented majority 2+ Year Member

    Nov 15, 2006
    Lexington KY
    Conjoined twin separation.
  24. Terpskins99

    Terpskins99 Fear... The Stig 10+ Year Member

    Mar 8, 2005
    A lot of neuro procedures are pretty cool.

    Plastics are hit or miss. A lot of plastics are pretty boring (tummy tuck? breast implants? meh...). But a skin flap of someone's face? That is crazy to watch.

    Personally, I'd recommend an open heart procedure if possible. Everyone in medical school should get a chance to watch a CABG.

    Agree with others to avoid GI procedures. You'll get more than enough (especially lap chole/appy's) during general surgery.
  25. MilkmanAl

    MilkmanAl Al the Ass Mod Physician 7+ Year Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    Kansas City, MO
    hSDN Alumni
    Dude, we're trying to talk about surgery, here. The sex thread is thataway.
  26. dienekes88

    dienekes88 10+ Year Member

    Jan 21, 2008
    Norwood Procedure.
  27. Terpskins99

    Terpskins99 Fear... The Stig 10+ Year Member

    Mar 8, 2005
    Speaking of which, during general surgery I got to scrub in on a penile prosthesis implant. Urology service didn't have any medical students that month and asked me to lend a hand. :p True story.

  28. MrBurns10

    MrBurns10 Excellent, Smithers Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Jul 14, 2005
    So this is EXACTLY what I was going to recommend. It was one of the only surgeries during my rotation that I can honestly say I wasn't bored at all. It also doesn't hurt that to this day it's the only scrotum I've ever sutured.
  29. AUD

    AUD 7+ Year Member

    Mar 10, 2008
    It was a while ago, so I have no idea what it is called, but I watched a neurosurgeon remove and replace a vertebrae. Took FOREVER though.

    Another memorable one is when I got to see a hernia repair. The guy getting it done didn't come into the hospital until his intestine was falling out of his body. No joke. 6" atleast.
  30. Squiddie

    Squiddie Watch out for the cactus 2+ Year Member

    May 21, 2008
    I volunteered at a same-day surgery center and they let me observe once a week.

    I saw some circumcisions, a myringotomy, 2 ACL repairs, and a few tonsilectomies. They also let me observe some pain management epidurals.

    While they may not be "cool" surgeries and are incredibly routine, being able to see any surgery was cool to me.
  31. ButImLETired

    ButImLETired Prodigal member Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    May 27, 2008
    the hospital
    hSDN Member
    I scrubbed in on a triple CABG last year and it was UNbelievable. I was there from 6 am when they put the patient under until 2 pm when surgery was over, and to see it was probably one of the greatest experiences in my life thus far. Seeing the surgeon handle the heart...I mean...ridiculous. The smell of the cateurization of the vessels as well as the sound of the sternal saw cracking the ribs were a bit overwhelming, but otherwise I was just fascinated. I was lucky though, the surgeon wore a cap with a videocamera that showed everything on a big screen next to me, so if I couldnt get close enough I could see everything he could on the screen. I was standing there the whole time and didn't even get tired. Unbelievable, seriously.
  32. MichaelG17

    MichaelG17 7+ Year Member

    Dec 20, 2007
    Open heart surgeries. I observed two aortic valve replacement surgeries. They are long (3-4 hours), but very cool to observe.
  33. pincheeric

    pincheeric 2+ Year Member

    Jul 23, 2007
    The important thing about observing a surgery is being able to see what is going on. Unless the surgeon is crazy s/he isn't going to ask you to scrub in or otherwise help out because you have no malpractice insurance and frankly you aren't prepared to help in anyway. That said you won't be close enough to see most surgeries that take place in a body cavity, unless it is done with a scope. Any scope case would be good for you since it would have good anatomy and you can watch on the screen from wherever in the room. I wouldn't recommend any long cases, since (a) you will get bored and tired just standing there doing nothing and (b) you will do plenty of that as a med student.

    So with all that in mind things I would recommend would be things such as:

    - Implantable penile prosthetic (Quick, the anatomy is easy, it's external, and the result is instant)
    - Artificial urethral sphincter (Quick, easy anatomy, easy to see)
    - Cystoscopy (TURBT or TURP)

    - Any open reduction internal fixation (External so easy to see, pretty easy anatomy)
    - Any amputation

    General Surgery
    - Simple lap cases (e.g. lap appy, lap chole)

    - Any open heart surgery (Probably worth seeing one since it's pretty amazing, though they can be very long)

    Plastic Surgery (Easy to see, could potentially teach you to sew/tie knots between cases)
    - Liposuction
    - Rhinoplasty
    - Abdominoplasty (Cases like TRAMs and most other flaps are pretty long cases and might be boring)
    - Breast augmentation

    Plenty of other things too that I'm sure I'm forgetting. Just keep in mind that you want to see and you want to understand what's happening. You probably won't understand a whipple, but you'll understand an appy.
  34. DrJD

    DrJD Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Oct 24, 2005
    I watched a craniotomy to remove a meningioma... Really trippy to see a human brain in the flesh... If you had the chance to observe a crainotomy I'd give it a :thumbup:
  35. TheRealMD

    TheRealMD "The Mac Guy" 5+ Year Member

    May 23, 2007
    Houston, Texas
    Neurosurgery, thoracic surgery (or really anything that has the chest open), hip replacement, knee replacement, hand surgery, plastic surgery (both cosmetic and non-cosmetic), ENT surgery, eye surgery (probably removal of cataracts), trauma surgery, etc.. Watch all of those if you can and you've covered a lot of the human body.

    The only real problem I have with non-medical students watching surgery is that if you have an extremely small amount of knowledge about human anatomy, watching multiple surgeries can be pretty boring unless you are REALLY up close. Otherwise, you have no clue what you should be seeing, what you are seeing, or what you have missed due to the surgeon blocking your view.
  36. brianmartin

    brianmartin 10+ Year Member

    Nov 12, 2006
    Yakima, WA
    Surgery would only be cool if I had a time constriction device...
  37. Ella Shepherd

    Ella Shepherd Screen. Stage. Studio. 2+ Year Member

    Nov 4, 2007
    I watched a craniectomy a few weeks ago. I like neurosurgeries. :)

    I also watched a laparoscopic surgery last week and it was pretty cool, too. (Laparoscopic cholecystectomy to be more specific.)

    Other really cool surgeries are organ transplants (especially heart transplants), cervical disk replacements, hip replacement surgery and plastic surgery. :luck:
  38. Hyperstudyosis

    Hyperstudyosis 7+ Year Member

    Jul 25, 2007
    Definitely open heart surgery. I got to observe a coronary bypass surgery with the surgeon explaining to me what he was doing the whole way through. It was pretty cool.
  39. aunt ethel

    aunt ethel M0 2+ Year Member

    May 31, 2007
    1) Open heart surgery was awesome. They let me stand on a little stool and peer over the guy's head into his open chest.

    2) Knee replacement--I thought it would be no sweat after the open-heart. Boy was I wrong. I almost passed out, it was so intense. The guy doing all the work said he used to work in construction and that the tools were basically the same. A lot of drilling, hammering, sawing....yikes.

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