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Surgical Tech

Some procedures do not require full anesthesia. In these cases, mild sedation is used to keep you comfortable and relaxed during your procedure.

DUTIES

Surgical technologists, also called operating room technicians, assist in surgical operations. They prepare operating rooms, arrange equipment, and help doctors during surgeries. Before an operation, surgical technologists prepare the operating room by setting up surgical instruments and equipment. They also prepare patients for surgery by washing and disinfecting incision sites, and positioning the patients on the operating table. Surgical technologists prepare sterile solutions and medications used in surgery and check that all surgical equipment is working properly. Lastly, they help the surgical team put on sterile gowns and gloves.

During an operation, surgical technologists pass instruments and supplies to surgeons and first assistants. They also hold retractors, hold internal organs in place during the procedure, or set up robotic surgical equipment. Technologists also may handle specimens taken for laboratory analysis. Once the operation is complete, surgical technologists may apply bandages and other dressings to the incision site. They may also help transfer patients to recovery rooms and restock operating rooms after a procedure. Surgical first assistants have a hands-on role, directly assisting surgeons during a procedure. For instance, they may help to suction the incision site or suture a wound.

Surgical technologists wear scrubs (special sterile clothing) while they are in the operating room. Their work may be physically demanding, requiring them to be on their feet for long periods. Surgical technologists also may need to help move patients or lift heavy trays of medical supplies. At times, they may be exposed to communicable diseases and unpleasant sights, odors, and materials.

  • Prepare operating rooms for surgery.
  • Sterilize equipment and make sure that there are adequate supplies for surgery.
  • Ready patients for surgery, such as by washing and disinfecting incision sites.
  • Help surgeons during surgery by passing them instruments and other sterile supplies.
  • Count supplies, such as sponges and instruments.
  • Maintain a sterile environment.

EDUCATION

Surgical technologists typically need postsecondary education. Many community colleges and vocational schools, as well as some universities and hospitals, have accredited programs in surgical technology. Programs range in length from several months to 2 years, and they grant a diploma or associate's degree upon completion. In 2017, there were about 500 surgical technologist programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

Surgical technology education includes courses in anatomy, physiology, biology, medical terminology, pharmacology, and other topics. Surgical technologists are trained in the care and safety of patients, sterilization techniques, how to set up technical or robotic equipment, and preventing and controlling infections. In addition to classroom study, students also work in supervised clinical settings to gain hands-on experience. Surgical first assistants may complete a formal education program in surgical assisting. Others may work as surgical technologists and receive additional on-the-job training before becoming first assistants.

CERTIFICATION

Certification through the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting allows the use of the title Certified Surgical Technologist (CST). Certification typically requires completing an accredited formal education program or military training program and passing an exam. Certification through the National Center for Competency Testing allows the use of the title Tech in Surgery – Certified or TS-C (NCCT). Applicants may qualify through formal education, military training, or work experience. All require documenting critical skills and passing an exam.

In addition, many jobs require technologists to become certified in CPR or basic life support (BLS), or both. The National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting, the National Commission for the Certification of Surgical Assistants, and the American Board of Surgical Assistants offer certification for surgical first assistants.

Most surgical technologists work full time. Surgical technologists employed in hospitals may work or be on call during nights, weekends, and holidays. They may also be required to work shifts lasting longer than 8 hours. Employment of surgical technologists is projected to grow 12 percent to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Advances in medical technology have made surgery safer, and more operations are being done to treat a variety of illnesses and injuries. For example, an individual may decide to have a knee replacement operation in order to maintain an active lifestyle or to have cataracts removed to improve vision.

CATARACT SURGERY

A cataract is a clouding of the eye's lens that causes decreased vision. The lens of the eye focuses light rays onto the retina where an image is recorded. This allows us to see things clearly. The lens of the eye comprises mostly water and protein. The protein is arranged in a way that keeps the lens clear and lets light pass through it. A cataract develops when some of the protein clumps together and starts to cloud an area of the lens. A cataract won't spread from one eye to the other, although many people develop cataracts in both eyes. As the cataract matures and gets cloudier, it may become difficult to read and do other normal tasks. The exact cause of this clouding is not known. However, a number of factors are known to contribute to the formation of cataracts:

    Aging, as proteins in the lens change.
    Medical conditions such as diabetes
    Certain eye infections.
    Eye injury or burns of the eye.
    Exposure to radiation.
    Taking steroid medications for long periods.
    Excessive exposure to bright sunlight.
    Excessive alcohol use, or smoking.

Cataract surgery is usually done as an outpatient under local anesthesia, and most often takes less than one hour. Most cataract surgeries involve removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial one. There are two primary types of cataract removal surgery. The first is Small Incision Cataract Surgery, where a tiny probe is inserted into the eye. The probe emits ultrasound waves that break up the cloudy lens into small fragments. The tiny pieces are then removed by suction. This is the most common form of cataract removal surgery, and usually requires no stitches. The second type of cataract surgery is called is Extracapsular Surgery, where an incision is made in the eye, and the hard center of the lens is removed. The remainder of the lens is removed by suction. This surgery usually requires stitches, although the stitches may be able to stay in the eye permanently. In both types of surgery, local anesthesia is used so that there isn't any pain. In most cases, the removed lens is replaced by an intraocular lens, which is a clear artificial lens. It requires no special care, and remains permanently in the eye.

Rhinoplasty (Nose Job) Animation


Rhinoplasty (RIE-no-plas-tee) is surgery that changes the shape of the nose. The motivation for rhinoplasty may be to change the appearance of the nose, improve breathing or both. The upper portion of the structure of the nose is bone, and the lower portion is cartilage.

Surgical Instrument Set


A technical explanation of the set of surgical instruments that a doctor may ask for in the performance of operations.

Cataract Surgery Animation


Cataract surgery involves replacing the cloudy lens inside your eye with a clear artificial lens, called an intraocular lens (IOL).

Dental Surgery Animation


A dental bone graft is necessary when bone loss has occurred in the jaw. This procedure is commonly performed prior to dental implant placement or when bone loss is negatively affecting neighboring teeth.

Open Heart Surgery

Minimally invasive bypass surgery offers an alternative to coronary artery bypass grafts, for patients who have only one or two blocked arteries. This operation uses a combination of small holes in the chest, and a small incision made directly over the coronary artery that needs to be bypassed. The result is more rapid healing of the chest incision with less pain and scarring. Heart valve replacement surgery also has become a common operation in hospitals. There are many reasons why a heart valve may not be working as well as it should. Valves that are seriously degenerated can be removed surgically and replaced with a new valve mechanism.

Coronary artery bypass surgery is used to reduce the symptoms of coronary artery disease and to prevent future heart attacks in patients who have major blockages in their coronary arteries. These blockages are the result of atherosclerosis, a condition which causes fatty deposits to build up in the arteries, slowing the flow of blood. Over time, as the coronary arteries continue to narrow, angina, pain or discomfort in the chest, or a heart attack can result. Coronary artery bypass surgery uses vein grafts taken from a patient's leg, arm or inside the chest to create a detour so blood can go around the blockages in the coronary artery and reach the heart.


Radiosurgery - Minimally Invasive Surgery

CyberKnife radiosurgery is a robotic surgery device that uses a linear accelerator mounted on a computer-controlled robotic arm to treat tumors throughout the body that are often unreachable by conventional surgery or other stereotactic methods. CyberKnife Radiosurgery is a painless, non-invasive radiation treatment that can be used as an alternative to open surgery in certain cases. The CyberKnife uses image-guided robotics to destroy tumors and other lesions with multiple beams of high-energy radiation. The cumulative effect of all the beams at the target results in the lesion receiving a very high dose of radiation while nearby normal tissue is preserved. Cyberknife radiosurgery is sufficiently precise to match the shape of small, complex tumors located in critical structures. This precision allows the CyberKnife to treat lesions that otherwise would be considered inoperable.

The CyberKnife System, designed by Accuray, combines two advanced technologies to deliver a revoluntionary, frameless radiosurgery. The first innovation is a lightweight linear accelerator mounted on a multi-jointed robotic arm. This flexible robotic arm provides access to unreachable tumors and helps reduce harm to critical structures surrounding the lesion such as vital organs and tissues. The second innovation is an image guidance system. This can compensate for patient movement, and allow radiation to be delivered without using rigid immobilization, such as a head frame.

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