Saturday, June 26, 2010

Week 2 - Jen Richards

This week was packed full of interesting surgeries, but the week first started with patient rounds on Monday. This was a different experience than I have had previously, and I was exposed to a range of emotions and situations surrounding each patient. I watched as one concerned mother asked normal questions like, "Are you the one to do the surgery?" and "What do you think is our best option?". Another patient had been hit by a bus one year previously, and had gone through an exhaustive amount of surgeries. This patient was extremely brave, but understandably wished for an end to surgery. It is good to connect people to their various ailments, and remember that surgeries are done on people with specific concerns.

As I said previously, the middle of the week was full of interesting surgeries, some of which displayed extreme amounts of creativity and skill on the part of the surgery. Tuesday I watched a glossectomy, or removal of cancer of the tongue. Initially the patient was prepped to have a full muscle transfer; once the tongue was removed, an arm muscle would replace it in the mouth. However, because the ear, nose and throat surgeon was so successful at removing the cancer without removing unnecessary parts of the tongue, they were able to save the tongue and sew it up. It'll be about a week until we know if the patient will be able to keep his tongue. Another interesting surgery was a face lift of a man with paralysis of the right side of his face. Normally I think of face lifts as purely cosmetic, but in this patient's case, it was for purely reconstructive purposes, as that side of his face sagged lower than the healthy side. One interesting aspect of this case was the insertion of a gold weighted plate into the eyelid to help the patient close his eye. This was inserted so skillfully that I had trouble seeing where the initial incision was. Also, the surgeons used the biomaterial 'Alloderm' to lift the skin of the face, an aspect that I found extremely interesting.

All in all this was a good week, and a bit of an eye-opener as to doctor-patient relations and the truly extraordinary work that can be done in an operating room.

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