Every day, I am so grateful to be a urologist. Does that sound weird?! I’m sure it does! Why in the world would someone want to be in a field dealing with…you know what! But it is such a great field of surgery! We have lots of interesting and rewarding cases, and urologists are true professionals and usually genuinely nice people to be around. And you have to have a good sense of humor in this field!
Unless you work in surgery in some capacity, you probably have no idea what sort of training is involved in each surgical field. I don’t think I fully understood until I was a surgery intern. I just knew that I liked the idea of being able to “fix” someone’s problem and that it would take many years to get good at it. For urology it took 6 years, working 80-100+ hours per week.
The beauty of urology is that we start in General Surgery and rotate through everything from major trauma cases to belly cases to heart surgery. We get to see and help out with some major surgery. The adrenaline is really pumping when you have a patient crashing in the ER and you have to help stabilize them and rush them to the operating room!
When we then progress into our specialty of urology, we still have major cases and trauma but they are all focused on the urinary tract: Gunshot wounds to the kidneys, ruptured bladders from car accidents, machete wounds to the testicles, and even a penis that got caught in a machine and half the skin got pulled off. We can handle all of this.
Major cancers of the bladder and kidney require the urologist to have either specialized skills with the laparoscopic robotic instruments, or the courage to make a major incision in the flank or abdomen. We know how to make completely new bladders out of the intestines. These cases can take all day and require a laser-focus attention to detail as you progress through the countless steps of the surgery.
On the other hand, urologists do the most delicate surgeries of all, even down to microscopic surgery. In pediatric surgery, we repair birth defects on baby penises. In the field of infertility, we bring in powerful microscopes to do vasectomy reversals with sutures as fine as an eyelash.
Since we are dealing with pelvic organs, we have to be able to operate deep in the pelvis, often working by feel if the visibility isn’t good. We use scopes and lots of different tools to creatively remove tumors and stones. The technology is incredible and is always improving.
And believe it or not, there is an aesthetic aspect to urology. One of my colleagues would say after completing a well-done circumcision: “A thing of beauty is a joy forever!”
On top of all of that, urologists have to have the personality to help patients open up about very private things. That’s why successful urologists are often very friendly and funny!
I love the field of urology and my urological colleagues, and I want you to know that you can trust that your urologist, whether it is me or someone else, has had great surgical training to take good care of you!
To your health,