Colleges of Nursing
Health Education Guide


Surgical Assisting

Surgical procedures are complex, requiring years of internship before a doctor can properly be considered a surgeon, and operate on patients. While browsing the following areas of surgery, note your interest in areas of practice, or sub-specialties. Please be advised that we will be placing links to videos of actual surgical procedures on this page, produced by the National Institutes of Health, and affiliated hospitals.

If you are studying medicine or nursing, or thinking about entering the field, the videos are both educational as well as important, to introduce you to the interior of the body. However, if you are under 18, please invite a parent or older sibling to watch with you, as surgery videos are very explicit and can be disturbing to some viewers. Again, if are only browsing this page to learn about surgery in general, please do not click on the surgery videos. If you are having an operation soon, or are considering surgery, there are surgery animations you can learn from that are much less graphic.

Cataract Surgery

A cataract is a clouding of the eye's lens that causes decreased vision. The lens of the eye focuses light rays onto the retina where an image is recorded. This allows us to see things clearly. The lens of the eye comprises mostly water and protein. The protein is arranged in a way that keeps the lens clear and lets light pass through it. A cataract develops when some of the protein clumps together and starts to cloud an area of the lens. A cataract won't spread from one eye to the other, although many people develop cataracts in both eyes. As the cataract matures and gets cloudier, it may become difficult to read and do other normal tasks. The exact cause of this clouding is not known. However, a number of factors are known to contribute to the formation of cataracts:

Aging, as proteins in the lens change.
Medical conditions such as diabetes
Certain eye infections.
Eye injury or burns of the eye.
Exposure to radiation.
Taking steroid medications for long periods.
Excessive exposure to bright sunlight.
Excessive alcohol use, or smoking.

Cataract surgery is usually done as an outpatient under local anesthesia, and most often takes less than one hour. Most cataract surgeries involve removing the cloudy lens and replacing it with an artificial one. There are two primary types of cataract removal surgery. The first is Small Incision Cataract Surgery, where a tiny probe is inserted into the eye. The probe emits ultrasound waves that break up the cloudy lens into small fragments. The tiny pieces are then removed by suction. This is the most common form of cataract removal surgery, and usually requires no stitches. The second type of cataract surgery is called is Extracapsular Surgery, where an incision is made in the eye, and the hard center of the lens is removed. The remainder of the lens is removed by suction. This surgery usually requires stitches, although the stitches may be able to stay in the eye permanently. In both types of surgery, local anesthesia is used so that there isn't any pain. In most cases, the removed lens is replaced by an intraocular lens, which is a clear artificial lens. It requires no special care, and remains permanently in the eye.

Thoracic Surgery

Bladder obstruction
Bypass surgery
Central venous access
Diaphragmatic hernias
Empyema or complicated pneumonia
Esophageal atresia
Lobar Emphysema
Lung tumors
Mediastinal tumors
Open heart surgery
Pulmonary sequestration
Tracheo-esophageal fistula
Urologic Diseases

Open Heart Surgery Minimally invasive bypass surgery offers an alternative to coronary artery bypass grafts, for patients who have only one or two blocked arteries. This operation uses a combination of small holes in the chest, and a small incision made directly over the coronary artery that needs to be bypassed. The result is more rapid healing of the chest incision with less pain and scarring. Heart valve replacement surgery also has become a common operation in hospitals. There are many reasons why a heart valve may not be working as well as it should. Valves that are seriously degenerated can be removed surgically and replaced with a new valve mechanism.

Coronary artery bypass surgery is used to reduce the symptoms of coronary artery disease and to prevent future heart attacks in patients who have major blockages in their coronary arteries. These blockages are the result of atherosclerosis, a condition which causes fatty deposits to build up in the arteries, slowing the flow of blood. Over time, as the coronary arteries continue to narrow, angina, pain or discomfort in the chest, or a heart attack can result. Coronary artery bypass surgery uses vein grafts taken from a patient's leg, arm or inside the chest to create a detour so blood can go around the blockages in the coronary artery and reach the heart.

    source:   National Library of Medicine

Surgery of the Abdomen

Adrenal tumors
Biliary atresia
Colon Cancer
Crohn's disease
Diaphragmatic hernias
Hernias of the abdominal wall
Hirschsprung's Disease
Imperforate anus
Inguinal hernias
Kidney Tumors
Liver tumors
Ovarian cysts
Ovarian torsion
Pancreatic cysts
Pancreatic tumors
Pyloric stenosis
Splenic Cysts
Stomach Cancer

Surgical Oncology

Breast cancer
Gastrointestinal cancers
Metastatic tumors
Parathyroid gland
Prostate Cancer
Soft tissue sarcomas
Thyroid Disease

Organ Transplant Surgery

Foot transplants
Hand transplantion
Heart transplants
Laparoscopic kidney transplant
Liver transplantation
Living donor liver transplants
Kidney transplantation
Lung transplants

Surgical Critical Care

Aortic arch conditions
Carotid artery diseases
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
Diabetic foot ulcers
Liver diseases
Pressure ulcers
Pulmonary embolism
Renal failure
Thoracic aneurysm
Vascular surgery
Venous ulcers
Visceral artery conditions
Wound healing

Oral Surgery

Corrective Jaw Surgery
Dental Alveolar Reconstruction
Oral Cancer
Sleep Apnea
Tooth Extraction
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