Surgery used to be my bane, but now it is one of my most favorite parts of practice. The change happened right under my nose. It was a humbling experience and reminded me that I need to be open to change and accept new experiences as they come. Sometimes it can be difficult to notice the proper door to walk through, but once you are through it, the most important thing is to keep moving forward. I would have a few surgery days every week if I could! I recently had a couple of new surgery experiences that really bolstered my surgical confidence and helped me become more comfortable as a surgeon. For me, trying new things and testing my skills with new procedures is the only way to gain surgical confidence. Sometimes it can be uncomfortable, but the payoff is worth it.
The first was the discovery of an older model cautery machine in clinic that I originally thought of as obsolete, but on further tinkering found to be fully functional even though it looks like something out of the vaults. I have already learned which situations are most appropriate to use cautery and which ones are not. It can save a lot of time, and it makes it so we don’t need to use as many materials such as surgical blades and gauze, as there is much less bleeding. It is pretty incredible that an old cautery machine can sit idle for so long yet still work perfectly.
Dental procedures are still not my favorite thing to do by any means, Truth be told, I am thrilled to see a surgical schedule that is free of dentals. That being said, I am becoming much more comfortable with them as time goes on. I have learned that during tough extractions, it is best to divide and conquer (really) by drilling the teeth into separate roots if applicable, or by simply removing large crowns that get in the way. Like in many other parts of medicine and problem solving, the best technique for me is to just take a breath, evaluate the situation, and take my time. Someday I hope that dental will be very routine and a piece of cake for me, just like spays and neuters are nowadays.