Sunday, November 13, 2011

Week 1 Orthopedic Surgery

This rotation is pretty cool.  The clinic days are generally easy, I shadow him, present the new consults, I get to look at X-rays, and he encourages me to take time to research various conditions on my computer (I get a little work station).  I also get a lunch break for an hour and a half sometimes to study for the boards.  I can even do practice questions at work.  I also ran into my last preceptor (infectious disease) at the main hospital when we were there for surgeries, so I got to visit with him a bit and he updated me on some of the last patients we had seen together.

Surgery days: I get to study in between surgeries - I review through the USMLE First Aid Step 1 in between surgeries, and I am listening to Goljan lectures in the car. 

As for the actual surgeries themselves, they are pretty interesting.  The laparoscopic procedures remind me of kelp forests because the golden glistening tendrils of intra-articular fat and meniscal tears have this fluffy look to them and they are waving back and forth in the water due to the irrigation.  On Friday I got to assist on two total hip revisions - very complicated procedures, the surgeon who is my preceptor was working with the UCSF doctor who was his attending in residency.  Apparently the UCSF doctor only assists on surgeries if they are more challenging cases.  In these cases, we were 'revising' the prosthesis, as in taking out the prostheses that were implanted in the hip and femur, shaving out the concrete and re-forming the implant sites, and then using a combination of cadaver bone, current bone, new prostheses, metal cables, screws, and cement to reattach them.  It's amazing that it produces a functional hip at the end.  We have to wear knee-high foot covers over our scrubs (normal surgeries you only need foot covers to the ankle), and also these heavy plastic face shields that you wear like a helmet that circulate air inside your helmet.  There's a lot of blood spray, so that's what those are for.  Unfortunately, the strap around my head was giving me a pretty bad headache in the second surgery, and this whole weekend I have had a mild-severe tension headache from my neck straining against the weight.

Another week starts tomorrow, hopefully it will be educational as well as productive in terms of board review.  


  1. Awesome. This is what I want to do with the rest of my life.

  2. Haha orthopedic surgery? One of my other female friends in medschool thinks the same but it was way too messy (not gory, I don't mind blood spurting at my face - just not very well organized) for my tastes lol.