Apr 06, 2010 - 10:46 am
Surgeons learn more by doing than by watching so they are given every opportunity possible to "do" while in training.
When surgery is done at a teaching hospital there are high odds that the procedure will actually be done by a resident or fellow with oversight by an "attending" surgeon.
To me it is very important to ask the surgeon who specifically will be doing the surgery, not who is responsible, who will actually do the cutting.
Another piece is that attending surgeons add procedures done by residents or fellows to their CV so when a surgeon at a teaching hospital reports thousands of procedures in his experience the number actually done by him will be significantly lower.
The daVinci robot was approved for prostatectomy in May 2001. A reasonable workload for a surgeon is 200-250 surgical procedures/year. At that rate it will take a surgeon 10 years to achieve 2,000-2,500 procedures; 5/week/year. Keep that in mind if your surgeon reports thousands of procedures worth of experience, especially if he also does procedures other than robotic prostatectomy.
This is nothing against teaching hospitals, just something to think about and clarify with your surgeon before you start counting backward from 100.