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Can you be a surgeon if you are not dexterous?


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I want to be a surgeon, but yesterday when I was learning how to do hand knots, it took me 15 mins to learn how to do them.. whereas some of my classmates learned it in few mins. I was wondering if the fact that I'm not too dextrous would prevent me from pursuing surgery (?) Now, that I have practiced it several times, I can do it quite well, however, I feel that i don't have innate dexterity.

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That doesn't matter. What matters is whether you REALLY want to be a surgeon. 

Hang out with staff and residents to get a feel for the different surgical fields, reflect on what aspects of a career in surgery you are attracted to, and practice your skills.

Surgical residencies are no joke and you need to be willing to WORK if you want to be a surgeon and go through that type of residency.

They can teach you whatever you need to learn to become a competent surgeon as long as you are willing to learn.

Good luck.

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4 hours ago, surgeonwannabe said:

I want to be a surgeon, but yesterday when I was learning how to do hand knots, it took me 15 mins to learn how to do them.. whereas some of my classmates learned it in few mins. I was wondering if the fact that I'm not too dextrous would prevent me from pursuing surgery (?) Now, that I have practiced it several times, I can do it quite well, however, I feel that i don't have innate dexterity.

Well first off, don't let just one episode one time be the judge of your dexterity. You don't know for example if your classmates have already done hand ties before. Even if they learned it once, they will learn it the 2nd time much faster.

The answer to your question depends on what kind of surgeon you want to be and what kind of surgery you want to do. The short answer is, even if you aren't super dextrous, you can be a surgeon. The long answer is that, if the surgery you want to do is complex and requires small fine movements with serious consequences if things go wrong, you may not want to pursue the specialty in that case. Likely, the bottom 10% of people actually don't have the dexterity it takes to make a surgeon in some surgical fields. There have been cases of people who have gone through residency and were not allowed to graduate or graduated but could not find a job because of poor surgical skills. Sometimes because of dexterity issues, sometimes because of work ethic/attitude. 

I wouldn't worry about this based on that, in all likelihood, you are probably just fine. The fact that you are able to learn, is a good sign. If you took hours and hours and you still weren't able to do it, that might be a sign. 

 

 

 

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On 11/25/2018 at 10:12 AM, NLengr said:

Maybe you are just a slow learner. Hahaha

 

I wouldnt worry, most surgical specialties don't need super fine dexterity. Honestly doing surgery is 90% about knowing what not to do, not how to do something. 

Agree with the above. As a fellow entering soon the last 6 months of my subspecialty, what is most often challenging is knowing who to not operate and what not to do. The cognitive process of surgery is truthfully more difficult than the technical aspects.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm not a surgeon, but my $0.02.

When I was a trainee I took long pieces of dental floss, tied them to a drawer handle at the midpoint and threw knots with the loose ends, over and over again.  Pretty soon you get to the point where you don't require a lot of conscious thought to do it, and can watch TV or something at the same time -- like an old woman knitting socks by the fire.

 

 

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5 hours ago, ploughboy said:

I'm not a surgeon, but my $0.02.

When I was a trainee I took long pieces of dental floss, tied them to a drawer handle at the midpoint and threw knots with the loose ends, over and over again.  Pretty soon you get to the point where you don't require a lot of conscious thought to do it, and can watch TV or something at the same time -- like an old woman knitting socks by the fire.

 

 

Ha I did something similar - I think in very large part this is all about practise, practise, and practise. I am not particularly dexterous myself but by the end I was recognized by the surgery keeners as being one of the best at various basic knots and suturing because I was on auto pilot tying knots all day long. It is all muscle memory - being dexterous is probably more about doing something on the fly well - but with practise most people I think end up at a very high skill level regardless. 

 

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