Surgery

Respectful Insolence

Category archives for Surgery

If there’s one thing that lay people (and, indeed, many physicians) don’t understand about screening for cancer is that it is anything but a simple matter. Intuitively, it seems that earlier detection should always be better, and it can be. However, as I explained in two lengthy posts last year, such is not always the…

When surgical dogma is challenged

From my perspective, one thing that’s always been true of surgery that has bothered me is that it is prone to dogma. I alluded to this a bit earlier this week, but, although things have definitely changed in the 20 years since I first set foot, nervously and tentatively, on the wards of the Cleveland…

After having subjected my readers to all those posts about the antivaccination lunacy that was on display in Washington, D.C. last week, I think it’s time for a break from this topic, at least for a while if not longer. In the run-up to the “Green Our Vaccines” rally events on the antivaccinationism front were…

Praise the colorectal surgeon!

Thanks to the ASCO meeting and meeting up with some relatives here in Chicago, I didn’t quite finish what I was going to post this morning. There have been at least a couple of abstracts presented that I wouldn’t mind blogging about; I just haven’t gotten to them yet. I also haven’t forgotten about Jenny…

“Early detection of cancer saves lives.” How many times have you heard this statement or something resembling it? It’s a common assumption (indeed, a seemingly common sense assumption) that detecting cancer early is always a Very Good Thing. Why wouldn’t it be, after all? For many cancers, such as breast cancer and colon cancer, there’s…

I hate it when I fall behind in my journal reading. Of course, it happens all the time, as you might expect, with my time sandwiched between running my lab, writing grants, seeing patients, and operating. Sometimes, though, I get a chance to try to catch up a bit. Such was the case the other…

Perhaps one of the most common misconceptions held about cancer among lay people is that it is one disease. We often hear non-physicians talk about “curing cancer” as though it were a single disease. Sometimes, we even hear physicians, who should know better, using the same sort of fuzzy thinking and language about “curing cancer”…

Last week, I wrote about factors that lead to the premature adoption of surgical technologies and procedures, the “bandwagon” or “fad” effect among surgeons, if you will. By “premature,” I am referring to widespread adoption “in the trenches,” so to speak, of a procedure before good quality evidence from science and clinical trials show it…

In science- and evidence-based medicine, the evaluation of surgical procedures represents a unique challenge that is qualitatively different from the challenges in medical specialties. Perhaps the most daunting of these challenges is that it is often either logistically impossible or unethical to do the gold-standard clinical trial, a double-blind, randomized placebo trial, to test the…

I may have joked a bit about certain surgeons whom, because they say such dumb, pseudoscientific things with alarming regularity, I consider embarrassments to the noble profession that is surgery. Usually, it’s been surgeons who reveal an astonishing ignorance of the science of evolution as they parrot long discredited and debunked canards about evolution while…

SurgeXperiences over at Surgeonsblog

It’s that time again: The 20th edition of the only blog carnival (that I know of, at least) for blogging about surgical topics has landed over at Surgeonsblog. Yes, Sid Schwab takes on the 20th SurgeXperiences, with limericks, even! Head on over!

Yesterday I came across a blog exchange between Dr. Jekyll & Mrs. Hydeand fellow SBer Physioprof about principal investigators (PIs) who still do experiments in the lab. For those not in the science business, a “principal investigator” is in general the faculty member who runs the lab and whose grants fund the salaries of the…

Don’t annoy the radiologist…

…or so says #1 Dinosaur, who was buried under a blizzard of radiology reports. I tend to agree up to a point, but the only problem from my perspective is this: Until recently, it was not at all uncommon for me to get seemingly millions of copies of every radiology report for mammography, ultrasound, and…

Woo invades the military

Imagine that you’re a soldier in Iraq. Imagine further that you’re on patrol in a dangerous area in the middle of summer, the desert heat penetrating your 80 lb pack much the way boiling water penetrates the shell of a lobster. Your heart is racing as you and your unit nervously dart to and fro,…

Some placebos are more equal than others

Perusing the news early this morning, I noticed an article on ABC News about placebos. One thing I found interesting about it was that it was a story about a research letter to JAMA, not a full study. Heck, there isn’t even an abstract. Even so, the study was rather interesting and described thusly: The…

An update on UCSC animal rights terrorism

In the two days since I first mentioned an attempted home invasion of a researcher at the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) by bandana-masked animal rights terrorists, there have been new developments worth posting an update here. First, last night the Santa Cruz Sentinel posted a story indicating that the FBI are now involved…

I didn’t want to blog about this. I really didn’t. No, the reason why I didn’t want to blog about this latest screed by mercury militia enabler David Kirby is not because it is about any sort of slam-dunk proof that vaccines do after all cause autism, a mistaken impression that you might get if…

…and this time it’s a home invasion. Abel Pharmboy at Terra Sig pointed me to this incident, which has all the markings of still more animal rights terrorism. This time, the attack occurred at the University of California Santa Cruz and involved a home invasion by masked intruders: SANTA CRUZ – A UC Santa Cruz…

Back in late December, I came across an op-ed piece in the New York Times written by Dr. Atul Gawande, general and endocrine surgeon and author of Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science and Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance, that struck me as a travesty of what our system for protecting human…

Ouch!

I have to hand it to Abel Pharmboy. No one else I know would live-blog his own vasectomy. Even though my traffic is greater than his, he’s definitely trumped me as a blogger today.

Earlier this month, I was remiss in not noting an update to a story about which I had written before, a story of domestic terrorism carried out by so-called “animal rights” advocates who are utterly opposed to the use of animals in research. The series of attacks began with an intimidation campaign against a UCLA…

The glamor of surgery

As I mentioned, I was on the road over the weekend. Unfortunately, that means I didn’t manage to come up with a new post for this morning. That’s OK, though. Off to the archives we go. This post originally appeared on February 7, 2006. Holy crap! That’s over two years ago! Enjoy (I hope). Fear…

The Chinese “Elephant Man”

This story is a couple of weeks old, but I’ve only just come across it. It reminds me that there may be some things worse than death, and this is one of them: To see the face of 32-year-old Huang Chuancai is to witness a rare genetic condition in its most terrible form. Chinese doctors…

In the mood for some great surgery blogging?

In the mood for some great surgery blogging? Then head on over to the latest edition of SurgeXperiences over at Counting Sheep. While you’re at it, head on over to the SurgeXperiences archive site and peruse past editions.

Today is a very sad day around my lab. I’ve just been informed that one of my scientific heroes, the man whose work inspired me to enter the research area that I entered, namely tumor angiogenesis, died last night. Yes, sadly, Dr. Judah Folkman reportedly died of a heart attack last night. I had the…