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Best surgical lifestyle?

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  • Best surgical lifestyle?

    just started 3rd year and love surgery. I always ruled out surgery for the lifestyle but I just love being in the OR and doing things. It beats talking to patients all day without a doubt. What I have noticed so far is that I prefer the shorter cases, like less than 3 hours.


    Fortunately I got a 251 on step 1 and that is basically above the average of people who matched for each specialty so if I get some research I should be able to do anything. As of now I am thinking urology sounds good. Thoughts?

  • #2
    gsurg gb, hernias....

    ophtho cataracts....

    endo thyroids....

    ENT PETs...


    etc etc etc


    • #3
      Don't forget that surgeons don't spend all their time in the OR. You're still going to have clinic days. Clinic days are what steered me away from surgical specialties.


      • #4

        Don’t forget that surgeons don’t spend all their time in the OR. You’re still going to have clinic days. Clinic days are what steered me away from surgical specialties.
        Click to expand...

        Well I do like meeting people and talking to patients just not all day everyday. 2-3 OR days seems like it would be enough to break up the week and add some variety.


        • #5
          If you want to be in the OR 2-3 days a week you should talk to residents and faculty and try to get a sense of what actual practice is like in different surgical specialties.

          I'm an ENT resident and in later years of residency we operate 4-5 days a week. However, most private practice physicians in ENT operate 1-2 days per week depending on your location and practice dynamics. If you do a fellowship in Head and Neck and are in academics there are jobs where you are in clinic one day per week, and are operating doing flaps and resections 3 days per week, but that doesn't fit your lifestyle goals. I think Urology is pretty similar. Both specialties are clinic heavy.

          This is pretty different than many Orthopedic and General Surgery subspecialties so something else to consider.


          • #6
            oral and maxillofacial surgery


            • #7
              I know you want to be in the OR 2-3 days a week. How many nights a week do you want to be in the OR?
              Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011


              • #8
                Once you're an attending, you can find lifestyles and practices with almost any specialty that suit your needs. Just keep in mind that generally the less you work, the less money you make.

                On average most of the subspecialties will have more clinic work/medical management than general or ortho surgery but have much less middle of the night consults/emergencies.

                Anything may look good on paper, but you'll have to talk/shadow people to really get a feel of the medicine and anatomy/physiology behind each specialty. Do that now before you have to start setting up out rotations and to get the appropriate research/letters if needed.

                But to answer your question, cosmetic surgery has the best lifestyle.


                • #9
                  Why don’t you do some rotations and find out?


                  • #10
                    If you don’t like talking to patients and want lifestyle, do radiology which includes non vascular interventional procedures. You don’t talk to patients much at all, but you will be talking to a mic all day ? . Not as boring as it seems as there will be plenty cases to keep you basically always working. A few gems each day it seems. Lots of relative quick cases like biopsies, drainages, and tumor ablations. 10+ weeks vacation (in private practice) ain’t bad either. Caveat, radiology has been trending for the worse due to hospital system and corporate takeover of many private practices. Who knows what the market will look like in 8 years.

                    If you must do surgery, it seems that all surgeons must take their lumps early on call wise. Then, they can have a lifestyle schedule. Even ortho can have decent schedules. Specialized opthalmology seems to have it pretty good too. Plastics and derm probably have it the best. They are also the hardest to get into and maybe already too late to consider.


                    • #11
                      Mohs surgery

                      No one will think you are a “real” surgeon but it’s hard to hear the jeers as you leave the office at 5pm with a wheelbarrow of cash


                      • #12
                        Specialties that are in OR 2-3 days and clinic one day....

                        Trauma surgery (horrible 24 hour calls often with lots of ICU medicine, need to live in big city or near trauma hospital)

                        Ortho (established ortho at my place work 1.5 days in office, 2.5 in OR... however much more clinic while you are building a practice)

                        At our hospital: urology, Gyn, ENT, and Gen surgery all only have a day a week (sometimes more but not block time) in OR

                        Maybe consider anesthesia? Lots of procedures, connect with patient before surgery but then don't have to talk with them! Ha!



                        • #13
                          Thanks for all the replies. I don’t hate talking to patients, I actually like it. I just realized that the day goes a lot faster for me when I am in the OR even though the hours are longer.  I think that 1-2 days per week operating would be desirable as long as I had some office based procedures as well.


                          @ent doc I am doing a urology rotation in a month but by the time my next elective happens it will be too late for me to get research for ent or plastics or Ortho so I kind of need to find out soon.

                          @whitecoatinvestor as few nights as possible


                          • #14

                            Mohs surgery

                            No one will think you are a “real” surgeon but it’s hard to hear the jeers as you leave the office at 5pm with a wheelbarrow of cash
                            Click to expand...

                            ad99, I just did aspirated my coffee or snorted it out my nose or both.

                            From my observation, the best surgical lifestyle is the one where you own the outpatient surgical center and don't actually do surgery.

                            beats talking to patients all day
                            Click to expand...

                            I thought you were all-in for EM?  that line above is EXTREMELY important for you to process.  to type that out as an undergrad med student is very telling....  consider path, dx rads...maybe gas?


                            • #15
                              I work 2-2.5 days in OR most weeks. Remainder is clinic.

                              It is usually not the best idea to get into something based on the perception of lifestyle. Remember that every procedure you do on those OR days is another opportunity for increased risk. And also that as physician reimbursements are going down for CPT codes (OR), they are going up for E/M (clinic). I love the OR too, but think of the time it normally takes to cultivate an elective procedure in an acceptable candidate, actually do the case, and then care for that pt for free over the next 90 days. Not to mention the psychological cost of the added stress of feeling that you have to hit a homerun every time you step up to the plate. Way easier and more financially beneficial to just see an hour or two of tennis elbow and ankle sprains.