How Can a Surgeon Last for 6 to 8 Hours in Surgery?

How does a surgeon hold up to 6 or 8 hours in surgery? Is that amount of time going to compromise a surgeon's fine tuning to his patient? I know it isn't particularly good for a patient to be in surgery for more than 6 hours, but how does a plastic surgeon hold up and still perform well?

Doctor Answers 3

We are used to it

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That's a great question.  The fact is that we have all had intensive and rigorous training in both mental and physical stamina to be able to successfully accomplish the surgery we are about to perform.  And while we have probably endured far greater  challenges during training beyond 6-8 hours of operating, the most valuable skill involves knowing our limitations and what strategies we do to prevent errors and complications.  Many of us have perform surgeries that go beyond 12 hours or more, so you can rest assured that 8 hours, while still significant, is relatively routine for us.

Southport Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Long surgeries

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Every surgeon is different and therefore they each have a different level of stamina.  Sometimes we take a short break during long procedures. 

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Time in surgery

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Many surgeons will take a break during a long operation to recharge.  However, sometimes, if things are "flowing" smoothly, we will continue straight through.  Most surgeons are aware of fatigue in the operating room and how to handle it so that patients are safe.

Leonard T. Yu, MD
Maui Plastic Surgeon

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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.