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What Do Surgeons Do After Surgery?

Surgeons are respected and admired for saving lives with operations and surgical treatments. With their tools, precision, and decades of laborious studies, they cut open patients and fix their organs.

In the operating room, surgeries can last for more than four hours. In those delicate and high-stress times, surgeons, nurses, and other personnel perform the treatment to address the patient’s disease and illness.

But what do surgeons do after surgery? What are the strict protocols and measures that they fulfill to ensure the surgical operation’s success? This article will feed your curiosity.

Conducting the first count on the surgical instruments

After treating the patient’s internal organs, the surgeon will close the hole that he made. But first, he and the operating room personnel will conduct a first count.

The nurses will count the instruments that they used to ensure that nothing has been left in the patient’s body. This count includes the surgical instruments still used during the surgery.

After tallying the numbers and confirming that the first count is correct, the nurses will declare this to the surgeon. Then, the surgeon will confirm this verbally.

These are tools that operating room personnel must count and confirm before proceeding:

  • Retractors, which spread the skin and tissues;
  • Forceps, used for grasping and holding surgical objects;
  • Cutters, such as scalpels and lancets,
  • Surgical scissors and clamps; and
  • Irrigation tubes, needles, and tubes

They do this with great care. J Just imagine if the surgeons would accidentally leave a surgical instrument inside the patient!

Closing the surgical wound

After confirming that there are no missing tools, the surgeon will close the patient’s wound. Depending on the treatment, the surgeon will stitch various layers.

In surgery, they may use the following suture materials in patching up the surgical wound:

  • Absorbable sutures melt through hydrolysis and the patient’s healing process. They degrade based on their location on the body, the recovery of the patient, and the risk of infection. Brands of absorbable sutures include Monocryl and Vicryl.
  • Non-absorbable sutures are applicable for long-term wound and tissue recovery. These sutures help in surgeries involving skin closure, the bowels, the tendons, and the blood vessels.
  • Suture components found in nature are used occasionally. For example, catgut (from the intestine collagen of cats) is durable, but it is banned because of the possibility of disease transmission. Silk is utilized in surgical drains, while filaments of steel are used for bone surgeries.

Surgeons use one of these suture materials to conclude the operation. They will remove the retractors, cut the suture, and sew the layers of tissue and skin. Surgeons employ various suture techniques and styles in doing so.

Cleaning the field and dressing the wound

After the operation is concluded, the surgeon and the nurses will apply swabs to clean the surgical field, which is the area around the wound.

Then, the nurses will apply dressings with sizes that depend on the length of the surgical wound.

Conducting the final count on the surgical instruments

Finally, the surgeon and the nurses will count all of the surgical instruments for the last time. They must confidently ensure that they did not forget to remove any tools within the patient.

If there are no missing surgical tools, the nurses will tell the surgeon that the final count is correct. The surgeon will then confirm this verbally.

If any of the surgical instruments are missing, the surgeon and the operating room personnel will thoroughly look for them in the operating room.

However, if they cannot find the missing tool, they will scan the patient’s body through an X-ray machine before leaving the operating room. This way, they will see if the instrument is inside.

De-scrubbing and sanitizing themselves

The surgeon will de-scrub or clean themselves meticulously before leaving the operating room. Still, they follow safety and sanitary measures in doing so. 

He will turn his surgical gown inside-out. After removing it, the surgeon will roll it and throw it into the bin. Depending on the hospital policy and the kind of scrub he wears, he will dispose of it in a clinical waste bin or keep it in a laundry bin.

Then, the surgeon will remove his gloves carefully so that the blood and liquids will not drip. After throwing the gloves into the clinical waste bin, he will check his hands for stains and injuries. The surgeon will then wash his hands for more than a minute to kill all microbes.

At this time, the patient is transferred to the bed. Surgical patients usually remain in the operating room until they wake up. They may also stay in a recovery area for monitoring.

Signing the paperwork and parting ways with the team

Afterward, the surgeon will label the clinical samples, write relevant information about the surgical procedure, and sign the checklists about the surgery.

He may give feedback to the team, especially the surgical interns and medical students who joined the operation. They will thank and say goodbye to one another before leaving the room.

Conducting visitations and post-operation check-ups

It is also the surgeon’s responsibility to monitor the patient’s healing and recovery process. He should visit the patient and ask about their condition. The surgeon should also answer the patient’s concerns and questions regarding the operation.

The results of the laboratory exams on the patient’s samples will guide the surgeon in assessing the patient’s recovery. He must be on guard for any complications or infections that may arise.

Keeping a logbook

After each operation, the surgeon should record the surgery information in a personal logbook. This way, he can reflect on his performance and the insights he gained during the treatment.

This logbook will also help him track his progress in the surgical field and the types of surgeries he has accomplished through the years. Furthermore, such a logbook will aid surgeons as they prepare their portfolios for specializations and applications.

However, this log is strictly confidential: the surgeon must not include the patient’s name and personal information.

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