Students say open-knee surgery not as gory as expected
Physiology class watches live broadcast.
Theresa Richey expected knee replacement surgery to be more gruesome and bloody but it wasn’t.
“It was a good experience because how many people get a chance to do it,” said the Gothenburg High School senior about the live television broadcast of the surgery from Mount Carmel Hospital in Columbus, OH.Students in Maggie Tiller’s physiology class watched the procedure on Jan. 11.
Classmate Ryan Ostendorf, who plans to attend pharmacy school, said the experience was good for him because pharmacists prescribe drugs for pain following such surgeries.
“It jumps you right in there and is the next step closer to the real deal,” Ostendorf said.
During the surgery, schools participating in the broadcast asked questions of the orthopedic surgeon during the procedure.
The patient was a 53-year-old male who weighed 225 pounds.
Surgeon Bryan Chambers answered questions while cutting into skin and fat layers and drilling into bones.
Students found out that recovery from hip replacement surgery is easier than the knee because the hip is less sensitive.
“Recovery is painful and challenging,” Chambers said, “but this guy will get up and walk 30 feet today.”
They also learned that knee replacement surgery is not recommended for people under 50 years old unless it’s absolutely necessary.
After full recovery from the procedure, which the surgeon said takes about a year, the patient should be able to do most activities without pain.
“It’s about managing the number of steps so you don’t wear out the knee,” he said.
After the broadcast, Tiller said it’s awesome students got a chance to see a live surgery.
“A lot of television shows don’t show the graphicness of such a procedure,” she said.
Tiller said she also liked how students were introduced to the surgery team and exposed to different health-related occupations.
Prior to the surgery, students participated in several activities relating to the procedure.
Tiller said they practiced washing their hands, like a surgeon would, and saw how many germs remained under an ultraviolet light.
They also visited a website where they performed a simulated knee replacement.
Two years ago, Tiller’s physiology class watched a taped autopsy.
Last year, a physiology class watched their first live knee replacement and a student fainted, she said.
Richey said she wasn’t prepared for the number of layers of skin and tissue the surgeon cut to remove the damaged knee.
But she and the class were all right with it.
During the broadcast, none of the students in the class complained of feeling nauseous.
“I think it’s good for everyone to watch because at some point, whether you’re in the medical field or not, you or someone close to you will experience something like that,” Richey said.
Although Richey is working toward medication assistant certification and is employed at Hilltop Estates Care Center, she said she plans to pursue a major in business at college next fall.
She said watching the knee replacement procedure will help her better understand what some of the patients at Hilltop go through after surgery.
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