I had a good experience in the OR on Thursday. I got to administer the anesthetic for a lap band, my first one. I've never seen the surgery live, so it was pretty neat. When I met the patient pre-op I told him and his wife (briefly) that I had had the surgery and a little about what to expect post op. I think it helped them feel a bit more at ease. You have to be careful when telling patients about your personal experiences though. First, you want to keep everything about THEM--it's not about me and it's not my time to share, so everything should be focused on what might help put them at ease. Second, just because I had a good experience doesn't mean he will, so I didn't want to provide any blanket reassurances--just briefly what my experience was. Third, you don't want to give enough info about yourself that you cross from the professional to the personal.
The surgeon was one of two band surgeons in the Spokane area. I had considered both of them when looking for someone to do my follow up care when I moved from Portland. I ended up going with the other one, because my Portland surgeon knew him and referred me to him. The doctor I see is friendly, is no more pompous than the average surgeon, and looks a bit like Philip Seymour Hoffman. The surgeon who did my patient's band surgeon is younger, and a bit more arrogant. He seemed like a good surgeon, though.
One thing I didn't realize about the surgery is that most of the instrumentation is done through the port incision. They make the incision, put the end of the band on an instrument, and insert it into your abdomen. I always assumed that the reason the port incision was the most painful post-op was because of the port, but it's actually because most of the instrumentation is done through that incision; the port just gets added on at the end, and sutured over.
My patient did well, but I had to leave before he woke up (the CRNA I was working with finished his case.) I would have liked to see him post-op, to see how his recovery was going, but I had to hit the road and get to Portland.
Aside to Blair: I'll put another response in the comments.
Everyone: have a great weekend!