Keeping up in an ever changing surgery landscape

Keeping up in an ever changing surgery landscape

Why establish the journal “Art of Surgery”?

From the memorization of facts, ideas, and histories in medical school, students move on in residency and beyond to practice the Art of Surgery. As opposed to the simple memorization of scientific facts, the physical intervention to improve or to heal the human body is truly an art. Every moment of the surgical process is layered and nuanced; from the mental preparation of determining the safest procedure and the best courses of action to the special technical maneuvers that master surgeons apply, the surgical procedure is learned not through the simple and quickly-outdated representations in a textbook, but in real-life practice.

Watching a master surgeon is akin to watching the conductor of an orchestra. The flow of the operation, the patterns created, and the economy of motion make surgery appear effortless, whereas in reality this effortlessness requires years or decades of practiced work and learning. Many of the intricate and unique approaches that a master surgeon employs—perceivable but indescribable—may not fit neatly into traditional training texts.

With ever-evolving trainee work hour restrictions and requirements, the ability to gain full knowledge as in years past from double or triple scrubbing advanced cases is vanishing as trainees step away from their operating tables. In addition, the fast pace of emerging best practices and a constant barrage of new technologies has even further diminished the applicability of learned text. It is therefore time to change how we deliver medical knowledge, research results and surgical instruction to the next generation. Information and communication technology is rapidly expanding; we can harness this technology as a tool to disseminate the art of the master surgeon to the next generation. We can mitigate the decrease in operating room time and the decrease in time with the master surgeon via an interactive process in which the learners can view operations—with their nuances, their beauty and, yes, their mistakes—via this new platform: Art of Surgery.

In addition to education, Art of Surgery is dedicated to making innovative ideas; ground breaking research and technologies promptly available to our readers. A new approach to a difficult problem, a better way to prevent/manage a post-operative complication, a more sensitive measure to detect cancer recurrence; each of those innovations requires observational and experimental science to define the principle, to test the hypothesis and to validate the results. Art of Surgery aims to facilitate this process by seeking innovations that provide value to learners and innovators alike. Furthermore, we believe that publishing innovative proposals, prospective research, operative techniques, and both positive and negative studies will promote important collaborations, and provoke controversies with the ultimate goal of advance the field of surgery.

This ambitious plan is a call to move forward together. Hereby, I call for your help, to share your experiences and to transform surgical education, practice and research for our next generation of surgeons and ultimately for our patients.


The author would like to thank Monica M. Bertagnolli, Peter Polga-Hecimovich and Ashley E. Aaron for their advices and support.

Jiping Wang, MD, PhD

Surgical Oncology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

doi: 10.21037/aos.2017.08.02

Conflicts of Interest: The author has no conflicts of interest to declare.

doi: 10.21037/aos.2017.08.02
Cite this article as: Wang J. Keeping up in an ever changing surgery landscape. Art Surg 2017;1:1.

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