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Monday, August 14th 2006

Oh, Makes Sense

Slate explains marathon surgeries.

They work in teams. A conjoined-twin operation can be broken down into many stages, like the initial incision, the work around the bones, separation of the blood vessels, and reconstructive plastic surgery. A different team of surgeons scrubs into the operating room for each stage, most of which take only a few hours to complete. That way, most of the surgeons don’t end up working for more than four or five hours in a row.

The lead surgeons try to stay involved for the duration. They’ll stay in the operating room for as long as they can, with a couple of breaks for snacks and rest. A surgeon who specializes in long-haul surgeries told the Denver Post that he stops for food and drink every seven hours or so. “It really is like a marathon,” he said. “You’ve got to keep hydrated.”

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