Will an intern be qualified to do pterygium removal?

Doctor Answers 3


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pterygium real is a delicate surgery that needs to be done by an expert ophthalmologist or under his direct supervision.  If not done properly it can reoccur.  Often even a conjunctival graft is placed to stop the reoccurrence of the pterygium.  It is not a simple intern job.

Towson Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Intern surgery

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Excellent question. As with many surgeries, physicians in training may be involved. Pterygium surgery is a very delicate surgery involving the cornea, and complications can arise. An experienced surgeon should be involved in the case. That being said, interns would typically be in the operating room only under direct supervision of the attending surgeon. The supervising surgeon should be someone you are comfortable with, as they would be overseeing the procedure. 

Pterygium surgery is challenging in that it has many intricacies in order to minimize the risk of scarring and of recurrence. An experienced surgeon should help you to achieve your goals with your pterygium.

Thank you,

Omar Ozgur, MD

Omar K. Ozgur, MD
Mission Viejo Oculoplastic Surgeon

Who should be undertaking pterygium surgery?

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For too long pterygium surgery has been considered trivial surgery and passed down the line to the most junior trainee. This may have been appropriate when a pterygium was simply scraped off the eye. However, as this method of removal has been replaced in most centres by more sophisticated and meticulous surgery, such as conjunctival autografting, the surgery has required more skills than that that can be provided by an intern. It requires the ability to use an operating microscope and handle very fine stitching material with micro-instruments. For the best results this needs to be performed by a specialist ophthalmologist or at least a resident under the supervision of a specialist ophthalmologist.

Lawrence Hirst, MBBS, MD, MPH
Brisbane Ophthalmologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.