Surgery Live

Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts located in Harrisburg Pennsylvania and Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center developed a new innovative program to stimulate the interest of middle school and high school students in careers in the health care field. With the financial support of Highmark Blue Shield, the Surgery Live program at Whitaker Center’s Harsco Science Center will allow students to remotely enter the operating rooms of Hershey Medical Center through interactive high definition videoconferencing technology. Student groups at Whitaker Center will see and hear the surgical teams in real time and will be permitted to ask questions at appropriate points during surgical procedures. The students participating in Surgery Live will be drawn from advance high school classes where the aptitude and interest for careers in health and science will likely be greater. Patients participating in the program have provided their written consent with the understanding their identity will be protected. No added medical risks are being taken.

Dr. Ann Rogers, Director of Penn State Hershey Surgical Weight Loss opened the operating room to biology students at Carlisle High School. A live operation was broadcast to Whitaker Center via streaming video where students were able to watch and interact with the surgical team in real-time.

Weight loss surgery was chosen for this project because it truly involves a multi-disciplinary healthcare team. A number of medical professions are highlighted including surgeons, medical doctors, medical assistants, registered nurses, anesthesiologists, surgery techs, nurse practitioners, psychologists, and dietitians.

What do high school students want to know about weight loss surgery? Here are some of the most common questions.

Can someone burst their pouch by eating something wrong after surgery?

Dr. Rogers’ answer: It is technically possible to do this, but not likely. Most people would feel extreme pain—so much pain, in fact, that they would stop eating and vomit prior to creating enough pressure to burst the pouch.

Why don’t you take out all the omentum fat during the surgery?

Dr. Rogers’ answer: The omentum is a large fold of tissue that attaches to the stomach and extends the length of the internal abdominal wall. There is no benefit to taking this tissue out. As a matter of fact, it plays a role in fighting infections that may occur on the inside of your abdominal cavity.

Penn State Hershey Medical Center has a mission to teach others. The confidential patient participants and surgeons were enthusiastic to be a part of this unique experience. To learn more, watch the Surgery Live! Introduction to Careers in Medicine video on the Penn State Hershey YouTube channel.

The Surgery Live! 2010 video is also available to view.