Surgery Today

Computer and video screens surround the operating table, their displays projecting larger-than-life sections of a patient's internal organs. Monitors beep and blip in the foreground as a surgical assistant quickly hands the surgeon his tools—two slender fiber-optic tubes, one equipped with telescopic lens, video camera and light source, the other fitted with a laser.

Common Surgical Procedures

In this section some of the more common surgical procedures are described. The operations discussed are organized by the system or region of the body with which they are concerned.

Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery

The use of surgical techniques for the correction of physical deformities is by no means a modern development. The practice goes back to ancient India, where as early as the sixth century B.C.

The Uncommon Surgical Procedures

The ability to rebuild human bodies from the parts of other humans or from artificial organs is one of modern medicine's greatest accomplishments, and its oldest dreams. Some of the most ancient documents, thousands of years old, tell of medical efforts to transplant organs, limbs, and other tissues to save lives or enable disabled persons to pursue normal activities.

Physicians and Diagnostic Procedures

Many people dislike going to the doctor; many fear going to the hospital. And many are overwhelmed by the enormity of the health care industry; much of its costs and procedures seem incomprehensible to us and out of control.