Every Monday morning at 7 am the Department of Plastic Surgery has their Divisional Academic Conference to discuss cases of interest from the previous week. Each fellow chooses one case that is of particular interest and guides the group through all of the intricate details. It was at this conference that I was scheduled to meet my clinician, Dr. Robert Grant, along with the rest of the plastics crew. I am very grateful that Dr. Grant chose to introduce me in this manner, as I was able to meet just about the entire team all at once and immediately begin to recognize the considerations involved in a plastics case. The meeting was brief, but educational…I was truly amazed at how knowledgeable every one of these surgeons are…they were not only freely tossing around language I couldn’t follow, but were also quoting coded procedures and classifications off the top of their heads.
After the conference, I followed Dr. Grant to his satellite ambulatory clinic where he holds office hours. This was a casual environment and a nice way to start my summer immersion. We saw patients together, followed by debriefing periods in which Dr. Grant would explain his thought process involved in the diagnosis and allowed me to ask questions on just about everything.
As Dr. Grant’s research lab is currently in flux for a few weeks, the remainder of the week was predominantly spent doing rounds with the plastics team and observing lots of procedures in the OR. While both of these experiences were very exciting, rounds were also very nerve-wracking. There are so many patients to see before we hit the OR that we were essentially running from room to room.
On the other hand, the OR is surprisingly much less stressful, yet still very entertaining. I essentially have the freedom to roam around the different rooms and observe the most interesting of the plastics cases...which is very cool. Some of the more interesting ones were a bilateral mastectomy with breast and nipple reconstruction, a ventral hernia repair via surgical endoscopy (using a tubular probe with light and camera apparatus to view internal organs on a monitor) with circumferential abdominoplasty, and an abdominal wall reconstruction after excision of a sarcoma …however, I will save the details for a later post.