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What do doctors tend to think about biomedical engineers?

theepodiatrist

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I think it's been discussed what they tend to think about dentists and pharmacists so I thought I'd ask about this equally important but overlooked profession in the healthcare field. Do they tend to have a bit of a love-hate relationship like dentists and dental technologists often do?
 
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theepodiatrist

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I can't say I spend much time thinking about them.

Though I will that those engineers who decide to pursue a surgery career tend to be the better residents I have worked with. FWIW.

I figured...have you ever heard any comments about them at all coming from other doctors? Or at least about today's medical equipment?

And what do you think makes engineers the best surgeons?
 
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I figured...have you ever heard any comments about them at all coming from other doctors? Or at least about today's medical equipment?

And what do you think makes engineers the best surgeons?

Yeah. Medical devices are made for the hands of male surgeons. Which is frustrating to female surgeons. That’s mostly what I complain about anyway.

I’m not sure I said the “make the best surgeons.” But anywho, they are mechanically inclined and the human body is essentially a machine. So they can think about complex clinical situations in methodical manner.
 
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theepodiatrist

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Yeah. Medical devices are made for the hands of male surgeons. Which is frustrating to female surgeons. That’s mostly what I complain about anyway.

I’m not sure I said the “make the best surgeons.” But anywho, they are mechanically inclined and the human body is essentially a machine. So they can think about complex clinical situations in methodical manner.

made for the hands of male surgeons?
 

Winged Scapula

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made for the hands of male surgeons?
Yes.

To answer your first question, I don't think about them much although thought it was cool when my nephew was exploring that for his undergrad major.

As to the second, most devices are designed and made by men without consideration that a certain number of surgeons are women. For example, during residency training I had a fair bit of trouble with a GIA stapler while my stronger male colleagues had little trouble. Some of the devices are too heavy or large for my hands (I wear 6 1/2 gloves, so I'm not very petite).
 
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Yes.

To answer your first question, I don't think about them much although thought it was cool when my nephew was exploring that for his undergrad major.

As to the second, most devices are designed and made by men without consideration that a certain number of surgeons are women. For example, during residency training I had a fair bit of trouble with a GIA stapler while my stronger male colleagues had little trouble. Some of the devices are too heavy or large for my hands (I wear 6 1/2 gloves, so I'm not very petite).

Yes. I wear size 6. I frequently had to use 2 hands to deploy the staplers, and it had nothing to do with grip strength; I could only reach the trigger lever with my fingers fully extended and it was difficult to get purchase one it like that to squeeze.

This wasn’t a conscious factor in choosing vascular surgery, but now that I think of it, I don’t have this issue in vascular because none of our devices or instruments use this mechanism.
 
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Winged Scapula

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Yes. I wear size 6. I frequently had to use 2 hands to deploy the staplers, and it had nothing to do with grip strength; I could only reach the trigger lever with my fingers fully extended and it was difficult to get purchase one it like that to squeeze.

This wasn’t a conscious factor in choosing vascular surgery, but now that I think of it, I don’t have this issue in vascular because none of our devices or instruments use this mechanism.
Definitely the length of hands and fingers in relation to instruments was a big issue during general surgery.
 
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Smurfette

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Yes.

To answer your first question, I don't think about them much although thought it was cool when my nephew was exploring that for his undergrad major.

As to the second, most devices are designed and made by men without consideration that a certain number of surgeons are women. For example, during residency training I had a fair bit of trouble with a GIA stapler while my stronger male colleagues had little trouble. Some of the devices are too heavy or large for my hands (I wear 6 1/2 gloves, so I'm not very petite).

If device companies would make a smaller handpiece, or just smaller devices, it would be great for my 5.5-6 glove size hands. I can't fire the brand EEA stapler my hospitals carry, because the handle opens wider than my hands do. I struggle with EndoGIAs as I need two hands to use them. I complain to the reps and they never come back around and pretend they've never had a surgeon have difficulties with their devices.... That being said, some devices have actually gotten better over time; Ligasures and Harmonic Scalpels have gotten much easier for me to use since I was a resident as they have "tweaked" the handpieces, likely due to complaints.
 
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Dr G Oogle

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I work very closely with BME and was one before becoming a doc. And am not aware of anyone who works even BME adjacent having anything other than a positive view is the fields contributions to medicine. As to the other comments re: female surgeons and makes that aren’t 6’2, 200 lb; this is a literal gold mine of product design and development, not just in surgery but all procedural specialties, if you make something easy to use for everyone then everyone will use it, if only some people can use it you just lost a giant share of the market.
 
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Dr G Oogle

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I hear you on the old, "no-one has ever had trouble before" attitude.:rolleyes:
this is one of the biggest obstacles to progress and a sure fire way for a company/institution/individual to become obsolete, especially in this era of rapid technological breakthroughs and people not putting up with BS
 
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Winged Scapula

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this is one of the biggest obstacles to progress and a sure fire way for a company/institution/individual to become obsolete, especially in this era of rapid technological breakthroughs and people not putting up with BS
Absolutely.

It surprises me that some don't have this foresight. "Oh no, we've talked and we really can't do that (thing that you want) for reasons X,Y and Z."

Me: "Oh that's too bad because <insert competitor X> told me they'd have it up and operational within 2 weeks, so we're going with them.

Sometimes people just don't want to change the status quo and think that we'll go along with it.
 
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Dr G Oogle

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The feeling is the same for me (I.e positive) can’t speak for anyone else. It may help if you discussed your objective in asking this question . Like are you looking to get an impression on how closely engineers work with certain specialties? Or whether surgeons consider engineers part of the healthcare team ? Etc
 
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theepodiatrist

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The feeling is the same for me (I.e positive) can’t speak for anyone else. It may help if you discussed your objective in asking this question . Like are you looking to get an impression on how closely engineers work with certain specialties? Or whether surgeons consider engineers part of the healthcare team ? Etc

The latter....and I'm also wondering if doctors are hopeful about things like tissue engineering.
 

Dr G Oogle

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I consider them part of the healthcare team, but again that just my opinion. I can reliably tell you that much of what we do would not be possible without the engineers. Ortho probably has a much closer relationship than most, where I went to med school some of the BMEs were professors within the dept of orthopedics. I am personally hopeful about tissue engineering as I am sure many reconstructive surgeons are. It represents the holy grail for recon or repair of any sort vaginal, breast, joint, vascular, cardiac, even transplant I imagine etc. imagine if you could perform a surgery and with a straight face tell someone they are literally “as good as new”
 
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theepodiatrist

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I consider them part of the healthcare team, but again that just my opinion. I can reliably tell you that much of what we do would not be possible without the engineers. Ortho probably has a much closer relationship than most, where I went to med school some of the BMEs were professors within the dept of orthopedics. I am personally hopeful about tissue engineering as I am sure many reconstructive surgeons are. It represents the holy grail for recon or repair of any sort vaginal, breast, joint, vascular, cardiac, even transplant I imagine etc. imagine if you could perform a surgery and with a straight face tell someone they are literally “as good as new”

Is tissue or genetic or neural engineering something that you find as interesting as medicine? Or second to it?
 

Dr G Oogle

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Is tissue or genetic or neural engineering something that you find as interesting as medicine? Or second to it?

I mean different strokes for different folks. I read about that stuff during my free time including academic papers, but I don’t do anything remotely related to my job in my spare time. That sort of engineering is bleeding edge tech vs the relatively mundane in clinic or the OR with the mantra an exciting day in the OR = a bad day. I do a decent amount of work on artificial intelligence (not something you mentioned but still engineering) with engineers at my university and whenever we have a breakthrough or complete a project it’s a really good feeling. On the other hand When I see a patient who has neurogenic bladder and was too afraid to go out of the house Or a postop who has stage IV prolapse who tell me that their quality of life is better because of what I did, there’s no feeling in the world like it. So tldr, depending on the day I like one more then the other but can’t see myself having a fulfilling career unless I did both.

there are also people who are thrilled to pieces being 100% clinicians in PP and those who are fine creating cool tech without ever seeing the clinical aspect of it.
 
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