Surgery: What's It All About?

By: Alex Hendricks


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Surgery: is a medical specialty that uses operative manual and instrumental techniques on a patient to investigate and/or treat a pathological condition such as disease or injury, to help improve bodily function or appearance

  • General Surgery: a surgical specialty that focuses on abdominal organs (e.g. intestines including esophagus, stomach, colon, liver, gallbladder and bile ducts, and the thyroid gland.

  • Cardiothoracic Surgery: the area of medicine that involves the surgical treatment of diseases infecting organs within the chest

  • Plastic Surgery: a medical and cosmetic specialty that involved in the correction of form and function


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  • Pediatric Surgery: is a subspecialty of surgery that includes the surgery of fetuses, infants, children, adolescents, and young adults.

  • Vascular Surgery: a specialty of surgery in which diseases of the vascular system are managed by medical therapy, minimally-invasive catheter procedures, and surgical reconstruction.

  • Otolaryngology: branch of medicine that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of the ear, nose, throat.

  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery: surgery to correct disease, injury, and defects in the head, neck, face, jaw, and the hard and soft tissue of the oral and maxillofacial regions.

  • Orthopedic Surgery: branch of surgery concerned with injuries involving the musculoskeletal system.

  • Neurosurgery: surgery focused on treating central, peripheral nervous system, and spinal column diseases

  • Ophthamology: branch of medicine that deals with the diseases and surgery of visual pathways including eye, brain, and areas surrounding the eye.

  • Podiatric Medicine: field of medicine devoted to the treatment of the the foot and legs.

  • Urology: surgical field involving the urinary tracts of males and females

Types of Surgery:

  • Elective Surgery: done to correct a non-life-threatening condition, and is carried out at the patient's request.

  • Emergency Surgery: surgery which must be done quickly to save a life, limb, or functional capacity.


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  • Exploratory Surgery: performed to aid or confirm a diagnosis.

  • Therapeutic Surgery: treats a previously diagnosed condition.

  • Amputation: cutting off a body part, usually a limb or digit.

  • Replantation: involves reattaching a severed body part.

  • Reconstructive Surgery: reconstruction of an injure, mutilated, or deformed part of the body.

  • Cosmetic Surgery: improves the appearance of an otherwise normal structure.

  • Excision: cutting off of an organ, tissue, or other body part from the patient.

  • Transplant Surgery: replacement of an organ or body part by insertion of another from a different human or animal into the patient.


How to Become a Surgeon:


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  • Four years of college

  • Undergraduate work in biology, organic chemistry, physics, mathematics, and English

  • Four years of medical school

  • Some required course include: anatomy, biochemisty, physiology, pharmacology, microbiology, pathology, medical ethics, and laws governing medicine

  • Internship and residency

  • Must have good bedside manner, emotional stability, and the ability to make decisions in emergencies


Modern Surgery:

  • Bleeding: before modern surgery a major problem was the concern that patients would bleed to death before they could get treatment or even during the surgery. Cauterization was successful but limited. It was destructive, painful, and had bad outcomes long term. Ligatures (material used to tie off severed blood vessels) were later used, but these also had drawbacks as they led to infections. Finally, in the early 20th century the first successful blood transfusions were accomplished.

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  • Infection: until modern times, the concept of infections was relatively unknown. Not until 1847 did Hungarian doctor Ignaz Semmelweis had a theory that washing hands before surgery might lower the death rate. More progress came when British surgeon Joseph Lister began experimenting with using phenol during surgery. He furthered his work by implementing sterilized equipment, rigorous hand washing, and the use of rubber gloves.

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  • Pain: modern pain control through anesthesia was discovered by two dental surgeons, Horace Wells and William Morton. Before anesthesia surgery was an incredibly painful procedure and surgeons were encouraged to work as quickly as possible to minimize patient suffering. In the 1840s, surgery began to transform as the first anesthetics were developed, chloroform and ether. In addition to relieving pain, anesthesia allowed for more intricate operations to be performed in the internal regions of the body.


References:

"Surgery," Wikipedia. Wiki. 10 Dec 2008. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surgery
Straight Talk About Cosmetic Surgery. Perry, Arthur W. New Haven : Yale University Press, 2007.
The Development of Modern Surgery. Cartwright, Frederick Fox. New York, T. Y. Crowell Co. 1967.
"The Birth of Modern Surgery." Pearson Education. 2000. 10 Dec 2008. http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/sci/A0861370.html
"Joseph Lister: Father of Modern Surgery." Ann Lamont. March 1992. http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v14/i2/scientists.asp. 10 Dec 2008.





Anesthesiology, the Absence of Pain

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Anesthesiology is the basic tradition in temporarily eliminating/blocking pain for patients who have or are going to encounter pain. This is extremely beneficial for patients about to undergo a medical procedure because the doctor can focus on what needs to be done, while an anesthesiologist keeps the patient subdued. Different types of Anesthesia includes Analgesia which blocks the conscience sensation of pain, Hypnosis which produces unconsciousness without Analgesia, Amnesia which prevents memory formation, Relaxation which is a simple technique that prevents unwanted movement or muscle tone, and Obtundation of the reflexes which prevents exaggerated autonomic reflexes. Before a patient undergoes anesthesia he/she first consults their doctor and undergoes a preoperative evaluation:


  • Medication, any medicine that the patient may be taking that could interact with the anesthesia in a negative way.
  • History of previous anesthetics if the patient has taken any.
  • Physical Examination
  • Blood work and consultations which are required before surgery

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After the patient has undergone medical evaluation and consultations with their doctor they undergo one of the following anesthetics. Below is the description of the states in which anesthesia is achieved and the different types.

General Anesthesia: This is a drug induced loss of consciousness where even painful stimulation will not wake the individual up. While undergoing this type of anesthesia patients usually aren't able maintain their own airway and breathe.
Deep Sedation/Analgesia: Drug induced depression of consciousness in which patients cannot be easily aroused, yet responds purposefully following repeated or painful stimulation.
Moderate Analgesia/Sedation or Conscious Sedation: This also a drug induced depression of consciousness yet the patient responds purposefully to verbal commands either by themselves or with light tactile stimulation.
Minimal Sedation or Anxiolysis: A drug induced state in which the patient responds normally to verbal commands, although patients speech and motorization skills may be impaired.After the patient has undergone medical evaluation and consultations with their doctor they undergo one of the following anesthetics. Below is the description of the states in which anesthesia is achieved and the different types.

understanding-childbirth-medications-ga-2.jpgGeneral Anesthesia: This is a drug induced loss of consciousness where even painful stimulation will not wake the individual up. While undergoing this type of anesthesia patients usually aren't able maintain their own airway and breathe.
Deep Sedation/Analgesia: Drug induced depression of consciousness in which patients cannot be easily aroused, yet responds purposefully following repeated or painful stimulation.
Moderate Analgesia/Sedation or Conscious Sedation: This also a drug induced depression of consciousness yet the patient responds purposefully to verbal commands either by themselves or with light tactile stimulation.
Minimal Sedation or Anxiolysis: A drug induced state in which the patient responds normally to verbal commands, although patients speech and motorization skills may be impaired.After the patient has undergone medical evaluation and consultations with their doctor they undergo one of the following anesthetics. Below is the description of the states in which anesthesia is achieved and the different types.

General Anesthesia: This is a drug induced loss of consciousness where even painful stimulation will not wake the individual up. While undergoing this type of anesthesia patients usually aren't able maintain their own airway and breathe.
Deep Sedation/Analgesia: Drug induced depression of consciousness in which patients cannot be easily aroused, yet responds purposefully following repeated or painful stimulation.
Moderate Analgesia/Sedation or Conscious Sedation: This also a drug induced depression of consciousness yet the patient responds purposefully to verbal commands either by themselves or with light tactile stimulation.
Minimal Sedation or Anxiolysis: A drug induced state in which the patient responds normally to verbal commands, although patients speech and motorization skills may be impaired.
Although the most common anesthesia is to put the patient into unconsciousness to the point where they don't feel pain. There are other non-pharmacological methods such as the following:
  • Hypnotism
  • Acupuncture
Acupuncture was developed in China, where Taoist medical practitioners developed this type of anesthesia. In relation to this, chilling tissue with cold substances such as ice can help nerve fibers to temporarily stop stimulation. In correlation to this, hyperventilation can cause a brief alteration in conscious perception of stimuli including pain.


Requirement to Become an Anesthesiologist
To become an anesthesiologist in the United States one must complete 4 years of under graduate school, 4 years of medical school, 1 year of internship, and 3 years of residency.


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"Department of Anesthesiology." Palo Alto Medical Foundation. Sutter Health Affiliate. 10 Dec 2008 <http://www.pamf.org/Anesthesiology/background.html>.
"Anthesia and the Overview." Anesthesia. Consumer Health Information. 10 Dec 2008 <http://www.netwellness.org/healthtopics/anesthesiology/>.
"Anesthesia." Wikipedia. Wiki. 10 Dec 2008 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anesthesiology>.
"Oysten, John. "Information about Anthesia as a Career." Oysten's Information. Dr. Oysten. 10 Dec 2008 "




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