Reflecting on the Rotation

My surgery rotation consisted of 12-hour days during the week with a 24-hour shift every fourth day (including weekends). I was first a little nervous about how long those 24-hour shifts were, and what would I get done during those hours. Through-out my rotation, I saw many surgeries during those 24-hour shifts, and I was happy I was a part of it. My surgery rotation consisted of going to various types of surgeries and procedures including exploratory laparotomies, colon and small bowel resections, mastectomies, laparoscopic cholecystectomies and appendectomies, hernia repairs, colonoscopies, hemorrhoidectomies, fistulotomies, and anal fistula repairs. We were also part of a few robotic-assisted laparoscopies as well. The other half of the rotation consisted of going to different clinics like breast clinic, general surgery clinic, vascular clinic, and proctology clinic. They also had an independent breast oncology clinic where I learned about different pathologies and screening options for women who had breast carcinomas. I really enjoyed learning about the different options women had to combat breast cancer.

I really enjoyed both halves of my surgery rotation. I learned a lot about the human anatomy because of how hands-on the surgeries were. During various surgeries, opportunities to retract, suture, and staple were present for me. Seeing the pathophysiology of different hernias and what a diseased gallbladder looks like was very helpful and eye-opening. I was also at hand for a patient who needed a below-the-knee amputation, and how that surgery needed to be set up, step-by-step. It was very exciting to be a part of.

The time I spent at the clinics were also very eye-opening. The breast clinic showed me that benign masses needed to be biopsied because of how prevalent breast cancer is in the population. Thankfully, there are many services available for different types of breast pathologies. Vascular clinic really showed me how much compression stockings are needed in our overall population. Everyone that came into the clinic had varicose veins, and I learned compression stockings are the best and conservative treatment to help with them.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time at my surgery rotation. My favorite types of surgeries were the ones that were with the attending surgeon and myself assisting him. We would do either a fistula, hemorrhoid, or pilonidal sinus repair, and it was an amazing 1-on-1 learning experience. I learned very much from those procedures, even if they were 45-60 minutes each (over the 3-hour surgeries like the ex-laps). I learned a lot in my five-week tenure there, and I tell everyone not to be exasperated with the 24-hour days because the rotation goes by very quickly, and you will be glad you had those days to learn as much as you could. I know I did.

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