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History and Advancements in the Profession of a Surgeon

People have been performing surgeries all over the world for centuries. Documents and physical proof provide evidence that Egyptians and Greeks performed many different types of highly difficult surgeries. And they did not have anything close to the tools or knowledge that that surgeons have today1). Over the there have been countless advancements in the field of surgery. Today doctors are so advanced that they are using robots to assist them in surgeries or sometimes they even allow the robots to complete the surgeries with no human assistances2). The profession of a surgeon has changed drastically throughout the years with minimum technology and equipment war was used, as a major time for surgeons to practice and master many different kinds of surgery because of the variety of injuries that the solider suffered. Today technology is so advanced robots are the surgeons of today and the future. During the nineteenth century surgery was a treatment of last resort in the United State because of the lack of knowledge that the public and the doctors had about the procedures. Not many people were willing to take the risk of having a surgery since more people died from infection after the surgery than recovered. Two major advancements in medicine during the early ninetieth century made surgery convenient and easy. Antisepsis and anesthesia made patients feel more comfortable having surgery. Opium and alcohol were the drugs used for post surgery pain relief. The first effective anesthetic agent was ether. This was given to patients by the inhaling fumes from a cloth as the fumes evaporated from a cloth.

Ethers properties as an anesthetic did not become known until chemistry students began to use it as a form of entertainment at parties at Harvard Medical School in the late 1830’s3). In 1842 American surgeon Crawford Long used ether on his friend to perform a surgery the friend did not feel anything and did not remember the surgery. Chloroform and nitrous oxide rapidly expanded anesthesia options. In the 1880’s surgeons began to experiment with controlled delivery of anesthetics. They eventually developed valve controlled inhalers to use to give their patients controlled amounts of anesthesia.

By the early 1900’s antisepsis became a common and a mandatory procedure in hospitals of any sort worldwide. Hungarian physician Ingaz Philipp Semmelweis discovered that there was a high rate of death in babies because doctors were unsanitary. Some doctors would go from the operating table straight to delivering babies, which would cause babies to get infections and die. Semmelweis came up with a procedure that doctors had to use to become sanitary before examining a patient or doing any sort of operation on there patients. The doctors had to wash their hands and also wear rubber gloves at any while working with a patient. This procedure was later adapted through out the world including the United States.4).

In the 1940’s many plastic surgeons served the United States during World War Two. They saved many solders lives by doing on site surgeries right on the battlefields. When the soldiers were wounded and would not have survived if they were not operated on eminently like a gun sot wound. They were there to do whatever surgery or procedure was necessary to save the soldiers lives. The wars helped expand plastic surgery since they had a lot of practice on the wounded soldiers. Because of all the practice they got the surgeons were able to fix flaws in the operations they have done and they were able to come up with new equipment that would aid them in surgery. In 1949 the American Society of Plastic Surgeons was created. This allowed many surgeons to meet and share with each other different experiences that they have had while performing surgeries so they would be able to learn from each other’s mistakes and success. This let surgery become more affiant throughout the nation. The society at this time only had around150 members. Since 1949 the American Society of Plastic Surgery has greatly expanded.5)

In the 1950’s the knowledge of plastic surgery increased drastically and because of this plastic surgery was becoming more commonly used in the United States. In the United States during the 1950’s there were many plastic surgeries discoveries that enhanced the procedures. But it was not until the 1960’s when the American society really began to accept plastic surgery6). Silicone began to emerge as a major tool in plastic surgery. It began to be used in many different types of reconstructive surgeries. Because of its perfect characteristics and malleability which made it an essential material for surgeons to use for reconstructive surgeries. In 1962 American surgeon Thomas Cronin performed the first the first ever breast implant7). In 1969 President Nixon appointed Hal B. Jennings as Surgeon General he was first and only plastic surgeon to ever achieve this.

In 1972 the first successful kidney transplant was performed in the United States in the by Joseph Murray8). These really revolutionized surgeries in general because of this many other surgeries were performed and successful. Such as a liver transplant and later an even a heart transplant. Joseph Murray earned a noble prize for his successful surgery. In the 1980’s the profession of a surgeon expanded greatly.

By 1990 there were over 5000 surgeons throughout the United States9). In 1995 he Internet drastically helped the profession of a surgeon and surgery in general became more efficient. The Internet allowed surgeons to communicate with one another in a variety of ways. They could either email each other about discoveries they have made. The greatest advantage of the Internet was being able to send videos of them performing surgeries. This allowed them to learn many things from one an other. Because of this someone in California was able to send a video or an email to some one in New York with his or her new discoveries or advances. This allowed surgery advancements to spread more rapidly.

Today the advancements are almost unbelievable surgeons today are using robots to assist them during surgeries. In Colorado surgeons are using robots to assist them performing bypass surgeries10). These robots allow the operations to be performed by making smaller incisions and reduce the chance of complications. The robotic instruments mimic the movements of surgeon’s hands and wrist. It provides flexibility and precise motion controlled during surgeries.

Cameras are also used during surgeries to be able to look inside the patient on a television screen. For someone to become a surgeon today they would have to attend a four-year college and preferably major in biology or chemistry. They would then have to attend med school four another four years. The future for this profession is nearly unpredictable. But it can eventually be completely done by robots.

I think that the profession of a surgeon is a very interesting pathway. It would be worth all of the hard work that would be needed to become a surgeon. Eight years more of school after high school graduation sounds terrifying but the award at the end of the tunnel would be well worth it. It is going to be very interesting to se where this profession will be in the next twenty years.

I would really enjoy being able to help people have better life with the skills I have. Surgeons impact people’s lives everyday tremendously by doing many different types of surgeries such as transplants. The only thing that I do not like about this profession is all of the pressure that a surgeon has while performing a surgery because any little mistake could cause your patients life. But the pressure is just something that you will get use to with lots of practice. I am looking forward to perusing my goals in school and work in the medical field.

Bibliography

“'Plastic Surgery Advancements'.” http://www.ezinearticles.com. http://ezinearticles.com/?plastic-surgery (accessed March 20, 2009).

“Surgeons use robots during heart surgery.” Copyright 2008 by United Press International. Health Reference Center. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE48&SID=5&iPin= UPI-20080409-12284400&SingleRecord=True (accessed April 16, 2009).

The Facts on File Encyclopedia of Health and Medicine. New York: Facts on File inc., 2006. http://www.fofweb.com/HRC/default.asp?ItemID=WE48 (accessed March 16, 2009).

“'The History of Plastic Surgery'.” http://www.plasticsurgery.org. http://www.plasticsurgery.org/About_ASPS/History_of_Plastic_Surgery.html (accessed April 19, 2009).

1) , 3) The Facts on File Encyclopedia of Health and Medicine (New York: Facts on File inc., 2006), under “”Surgery,“” http://www.fofweb.com/HRC/default.asp?ItemID=WE48 (accessed March 16, 2009).
2) , 10) 'Surgeons Use Robots During Heart Surgery', United Press International. Health Reference Center. Facts on File inc., April 9, 2008. http://www.fofweb.com/HRC/default.asp?ItemID=WE48 (accessed March 16, 2009).
4) The Facts on File Encyclopedia of Health and Medicine (New York: Facts on File inc., 2006), under “”Surgery,“” http://www.fofweb.com/HRC/default.asp?ItemID=WE48 (accessed March 16, 2009).
5) , 8) “'The History of Plastic Surgery',” http://www.plasticsurgery.org, http://www.plasticsurgery.org/About_ASPS/History_of_Plastic_Surgery.html (accessed April 19, 2009).
6) “' Plastic Surgery Advancements',” http://www.ezinearticles.com, http://ezinearticles.com/?plastic-surgery (accessed March 20, 2009).
7) , 9) “'The History of Plastic Surgery',” http://www.plasticsurgery.org, http://www.plasticsurgery.org/About_ASPS/History_of_Plastic_Surgery.html (accessed April 19, 2009).

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