Operation Facts

  • A surgical operation is when a doctor cuts or opens up a patient’s body to repair or remove a diseased or injured body part.
  • An anesthetic is a drug or gas that either sends a patient completely to sleep (a general anesthetic), or numbs part of the body (a local anesthetic).
  • Minor operations are usually carried out with just a local anesthetic.
  • Major operations such as transplants are done under a general anesthetic.
  • Major surgery is performed by a team of people in a specially equipped room called an operating theater.
  • The surgical team is led by the surgeon. There is also an anesthetist to make sure the patient stays asleep, as well as surgical assistants and nurses.
  • The operating theater must be kept very clean to prevent an infection entering the patient’s body during the operation.
  • In microsurgery, a microscope is used to help the surgeon work on very small body parts such as nerves or blood vessels.
  • In laser surgery, the surgeon cuts with a laser beam instead of a scalpel, and the laser seals blood vessels as it cuts. It is used for delicate operations such as eye surgery.
  • An endoscope is a tube-like instrument with a TV camera at one end. It can be inserted into the patient’s body during an operation to allow surgeons to look more closely at body parts.