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What Does “Overlapping During Surgery” Mean?

There are a number of things that occur before, during, and after a surgical procedure. Two hours before the procedure, patients must be prepped by a registered nurse. This process will include the patient changing into a surgical gown and removing jewelry and other non-essentials.

The nurse will go over the patient’s medical history and monitor his or her heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure, and pulse. The surgeon performing the procedure will likely visit the patient during this stage to mark areas where the incisions will be made. The nurse will place an IV line in the patient’s arm and transport him or her to the operating room.

The Surgical Team

The beginning stages of surgery are pretty straightforward and happen in most surgical settings. However, it’s important to note that what goes on during the procedure varies from patient to patient. Depending on the surgery being performed, your surgical team may include four medical providers: the surgeon, anesthesiologist, surgical tech, and operating room nurse.

Sometimes, a certified registered nurse assistant will be present during the procedure. Other times, there are as many as eight or more medical providers in the operating room at one time. Again, it depends on the surgery being performed. For these complex procedures (the ones that require many medical providers), there are usually multiple operations occurring at one time. Because of this, there can be a surgery overlap.

Overlapping Surgery

Overlapping surgery occurs when a senior surgeon performs critical components of one operation while a trainee surgeon or physician assistant handles a non-critical portion of another procedure. An example of this would be a surgical assistant closing an incision to finish up an operation while the senior surgeon begins a new procedure for a different patient.

The general population doesn’t know much about overlapping surgery because it’s not something that usually comes up during the initial stages of treatment. This is primarily due to the fact that it’s always been common practice – allowing surgeons to perform more operations in a given day so that patients don’t have to wait as long for their procedure.

In many instances, overlapping surgery can be beneficial to patients and the surgical team performing the procedure. It allows patients to receive complete care from multiple individuals who all have exceptional skills, knowledge, and expertise, and it provides newer surgeons with the opportunity to gain new skills under new challenges. More importantly, overlapping surgeries is a common and safe practice that is only employed for certain situations. If you have questions about overlapping surgery, be sure to talk to your Specialty Surgical Center physician.

Specialty Surgical Center is located in Sparta, New Jersey, and our staff consists of board certified surgeons and anesthesiologists performing procedures in Orthopedics, Sports Medicine, Spinal Care, Podiatry, Urology, Pain Management, ENT, Hand Surgery, Lithotripsy, Brachytherapy, GYN and Laser Surgery.

For more information about Specialty Surgical Center, call 973-940-3166 or visit our Contact Page.

The advice and information contained in this article are for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.