The Art and Science of Surgery

Read Transcript

There is no question that there's both an art and a science on there. However one of the really interesting things are, and as you recall my background is a masters degree in art architecture that was before I went to medicine, to have a little sense of what it was, and thanks to them I feel more confident, and in my dealings both with my patient, and my ability to do surgery.

There is absolutely a confluence of the two of them, but perhaps in the not too distant future, if we change the scientific method we might be able to bring art, and science closer together than they've ever been before. A lot of what is art, a lot of what is creativity, a lot of what is intuition is the ability to bring together disparate factors that seem they're unrelated, and when you put them together in new and different ways, very creative ways.

This is what one needs to do when one runs into the unexpected if you will entering surgery. The standard operation that has nothing unusual about it is not necessarily a creative operation, but that's relatively unfrequent, and almost every operation you need to modify it in some way or another.

What we have known, and we've known this from aviation industry, and other industries is that the more that you train in variations of the common method, the more creative you become, the more confident you have in your abilities, but also more creative you'll be, because you see that everything isn't exactly the way you would expect it to be.

My view is that we're on the threshold of simulation, and the future simulation is digital libraries. The ability to take CT scans of individuals who've had different anatomy and build a library, say a surgeon must do a gallbladder operation. And so we train them in the laboratory, the simulation laboratory with a generic gallbladder operation, but then what they need to do is do say maybe 1000 different gallbladder operations based on variations that we've collected over time, a library if you will.

So that you know that this is a congenital abnormality that we didn't expect, this is a regular place for the blood vessels, this is a particular form of the disease that we hadn't encountered before. Then you built up this experience if you will but now it's virtual experience, that distinguishes between a simple proficient competence searching and a master searching.