4 key notes on overlapping surgery

Overlapping surgery is occurring at more and more hospitals and medical centers, according to The Boston Globe.

Here are four things to know:

1. Overlapping surgery involves the close coordination of procedures for a surgical team so that preparation for one patient — draping, positioning, anesthesia — begins in one operating room as the care of another patient finishes in another room.

2. This procedure is performed at Massachusetts General Hospital in 15 percent of surgical cases, but in only 3 percent is there overlap of the surgery itself.

3. Overlapping surgery saves lives in certain clinical situations, such as after the Boston Marathon bombings and the Rhode Island Station nightclub fire, when multiple critically ill patients need rapid access to surgical care.

4. Overlapping is also the standard when multiple surgeons are involved, for example, when a breast surgeon performs a mastectomy and then a plastic surgeon performs the reconstruction.

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