EFFECTIVE PREPARATION FOR SURGICAL CASES

As Bobby Unser states, “Success is where preparation and opportunity meet”. This statement is applicable in the medical profession, specifically in the surgical realm.

I will focus on three specific words from Mr. Unser’s quote, which are preparation, opportunity and success. These three words are intertwined with one another and provide a continuum for positive outcomes.

1. Preparation

This is an absolute must when you are the primary resident on a surgical case. Equal attention should be given to every surgical case, whether it is a digital procedure or a complex reconstructive case. Good surgical preparation has three elements:

  • First, know your patient thoroughly! You should know your patient’s medical history, prior surgical interventions and social living environment. This approach gives you the opportunity to learn your patient in totality.
  • Second, read the disease process and anatomy pertaining to your patient. Doing so, it will serve as a useful “refresher” from the didactics garnered in college, but it will further stimulate your thought process when you are considering anatomic dissection and landmarks.
  • Third, review the steps for your operative technique. Discuss the operative steps with your senior residents and attending physician prior to the surgical case. By doing so, you showcase initiative and preparedness. In turn, this nurtures confidence and mutual trust between the residents and attending physicians.  

2. Opportunity

Exhibiting preparedness leads to newer learning opportunities. This is equally true in podiatric surgery. For example, when you illustrate mastery of forefoot procedures through consistent surgical preparation, you are highly likely to graduate to midfoot or hindfoot procedures at a quicker pace than the norm.

3. Success

When preparedness and opportunity have an additive effect, it leads to success. With greater preparation and exposure to new intraoperative opportunities, you will achieve successful surgical skills and overall outcomes. 

By: Kartick Patel, DPM, MHSA
St. Vincent Charity Medical Center
Podiatric Resident, PGY III