No, I am not trying to give parenting advice. But as a laparoscopic surgeon, I am constantly immersed in the “television experience”. “Experience” can be defined in several ways – number of procedures, experience over time, or how a surgeon applies past experience to future success. Here are five tips on how to become a better laparoscopic surgeon, no matter what your level:
- Videotape review – Record some of your own procedures and watch them critically. I wish I had a nickel for every “ah ha” moment.
- Video-based conferences – Whether online or in-person, this is a great way to become exposed to the techniques of other surgeons. Of course, a variety of surgical videos are available online and on DVD.
- Computer simulators – Although a requirement for a pilot, simulators are often passed over by surgeons. For robotic surgery, a surgeon should become proficient on a simulator prior to operating on a patient. For experienced surgeons, simulators serve as a great warm-up tool.
- Video critique by an expert – Send your surgical video clips to Dr. Miller for a thoughtful review. Find out more details about the “mini video mentorship” here.
- Distance learning – Live surgical case observation gives the added advantage of real-time interaction with the performing surgeon. Although not as common, the expert can observe the novice surgeon from a distance (video proctoring).
Even with the advent of robotic surgery and other advanced surgical instrumentation, all would agree that surgeon experience is the most crucial factor for a successful outcome. As such, the “television” might be the most important piece of technology in the operating room.