Awake awakening

December 29, 2007 § 7 Comments

I have no surgical training. I started nursing school once, but quit after finishing my anatomy and physiology exams. But as I spend large portions of my work week in ORs, I’m sometimes called upon to assist the nurses when things get a bit too hectic.

A few weeks back they did.

Awake craniotomy

I was scheduled to make a video of a craniotomy. The patient had a neoplasm in the brain, believed to be causing his epilepsy. « Read the rest of this entry »

SurgeXperiences 112 – Call for submissions

December 24, 2007 § 4 Comments

I’ll have the honor of hosting the 112th edition of the SurgeXperiences surgical blog carnival on January 6th.

Please submit your articles here, by January 4th.

Don’t forget to check out the 111th edition, hosted at Buckeye Surgeon.

An interesting case of autografting

December 17, 2007 § 7 Comments

This autumn I had the privilege of documenting several operations for head and neck cancer. Some of the most fascinating operations involved the use of an autograft to replace the resected cancerous structures.

One of these operations was performed on a patient with cancer of the gingiva (gums). The tumor had infiltrated the mandibular bone and the surgeons had decided to remove the tumor and a part of the mandible.

In order to make a functional jaw, they were going to cut out a segment of the patient’s fibula (calf bone) and reconstruct the mandible.

Resected mandibular bone segment

The resected segment of the mandible with a tooth. The missing teeth are replaced with a dental prosthesis.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Bright spot puncture

December 13, 2007 § 3 Comments

Lumbar punctureAbout a year ago I was scheduled to make a video of a lumbar puncture on a child with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The purpose of the video was to demonstrate the procedure and show the specifics of puncturing children. I was going to shoot an actual puncture, so we had to get the parents’ consent to me being present with my camera.

The problem was, lumbar puncture is a diagnostic procedure, so we’d have to ask the parents of a child with recently discovered disease. Fortunately I didn’t have to ask myself, and the nurse who did it did not feel comfortable asking parents who’s life has been turned upside down if we could film their child. Naturally most of the parents we asked declined.

But then we found this 5-year-old boy. « Read the rest of this entry »

Headlight cameras

December 11, 2007 § 19 Comments

MicroLux cameraA camera solution often suggested to me by surgeons is the headlight camera. Headlights are used by surgeons when the OR’s surgical lights don’t supply enough working light. This is often the case when operating in narrow spaces, e.g. the pelvis minor and the oral cavity.

Mounting a camera on the headlight might sound like a good idea, and some of the headlight manufacturers even supply it as a part of their product line. « Read the rest of this entry »

Image of surgery

December 10, 2007 § Leave a comment

Ganesh (

There are lots of surgery-related websites, but Image of Surgery is one of the more fascinating and weird sites I’ve seen. « Read the rest of this entry »

Camera left inside patient

December 10, 2007 § 1 Comment

X-ray of scissors left inside patientAccording to ScienceDaily surgical objects are left inside about 1500 patients in the US every year, leading to pain, infections and other serious complications.

This issue is something I’ve often thought about when I’m in an OR. It’s always fascinating to watch the surgical nurses maintaining the count of instruments, sponges and other stuff. Making sure everything is outside the patient before the wound is closed.

The ScienceDaily article states that about two-thirds of the objects accidentally left inside people are surgical sponges. They’re used, amongst other things, to absorb blood and are hard to distinguish from tissue when they’re all red with blood.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Who named it?

December 7, 2007 § Leave a comment

Ever wondered who the “Down” in Down’s Syndrome is? Or how Creutzfeldt and Jakob discovered the convulsive seizures and dementia associated with the disease that bears their name? « Read the rest of this entry »

Surgical light cameras

December 7, 2007 § 16 Comments

Surgical light handle-integrated cameraThis is the first in a series of posts where I’ll go through different ways of shooting surgical video. First out are cameras integrated inside the handle of surgical lights.

The handle-integrated camera is one of the most common solutions used to record video of surgical procedures. Most surgical light manufacturers produce lights with optional cameras. These cameras are not only used for recording video, but is also a way for nurses and students to get a good view of the operation. « Read the rest of this entry »

Compulsory organ donation

December 1, 2007 § 19 Comments

Most people would accept the offer of a diseased person’s organs if it could save their life. If your heart stops working you would probably want a new one.

But still, a lot of people are not willing to donate their organs after they’ve died. Even more people are not willing to donate some of their blood or bone marrow while still alive. Although they probably won’t say no to a blood transfusion, if that can save their life. « Read the rest of this entry »

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