Everything I Know I Learned on TV

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.