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Module: Principles of Surgical Practice

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Principles of Surgical Practice - an Introduction


Peter Devitt
Consultant Surgeon
Chair, MCQ Panel of Examiners
Australian Medical Council


Surgical practice has undergone many changes over the last few decades; not only in the art of its practice, but its relationship with many of the other branches of medicine. Once a stand-alone discipline, with outcomes dependent on the individual surgeon's skills, surgery is now seen as part of an integrated part of overall health care.

With advances in imaging and various minimally invasive procedures, the boundaries of surgery have become blurred - however, the essential elements of the management of a patient through an elective or emergency surgical procedure remain. These issues and problems form the focus of this module and the following cases are designed to introduce the user to some of the challenges that surround the operation itself - the preparation for the procedure and the recovery that follows.

Apart from the decision that some form of surgical treatment is advocated, the surgeon and the patient must consider a number of things:

  • Informed consent
  • Risk factor analysis
  • Strategies to reduce post-operative complications
  • How to management post-operative complications, should they occur
It is important to understand the principles that underpin surgery and which are an essential part of the everyday practice of today's surgeon. The cases in this module illustrate some of these principles.

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