The observation that “there’s more to surgery than just a skilled pair of hands” is more accurate now than ever before, given the steady stream of research advances in medical science. Indeed, today’s surgery increasingly requires practitioners to keep abreast of countless scientific developments ranging from new drug therapies used in conjunction with a procedure to new applications of high-tech instruments.

Some of these innovative therapies and techniques turned up in The Scientist’s recent survey of the eight hottest surgery specialties of 1987.

The transplantation of various organs was the focus of five of these specialties. ] reconstruction of blood vessels or coronary valves—was the subject of two, while the last was the removal of renal stones using the noninvasive technique of shockwave lithotripsy.

An Expert’s View

John S. Najarian, president of the American Surgical Association and chairman of the department of surgery of the University of Minnesota Medical...

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