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Left-Handed Surgery: Proximal Anastomosis

Monday, June 2, 2014

This video is part of a series demonstrating cardiothoracic surgery performed by left-handed surgeons. This video shows a left-handed proximal anastomosis.

Only 7-11% of the population is left handed. Surgical trainees who are left-handed are often at a disadvantage when starting their training, as right-handed trainers may have never seen a specific surgery performed by a left-handed surgeon, and thus the trainer may not be confident to suggest the optimal method to perform the surgery.

The hope is that this series of videos will help new left-handed trainees, and also right-handed trainers who may wish to review the techniques before assisting a left-handed trainee. All surgeons are encouraged to post a comment about experiences with left-handed surgery, in training or as a trainer. Left-handed surgeons interested in contributing to this series may submit videos here.


As a left handed surgeon since the 1960's, I always operated from the patients right side. I looks like the surgeon is on the left side in this video. Interestingly, one reason I gravitated into cardiac surgery was that valve procedures seemed to be angled well for a lefty (the aortic and mitral valves are angled somewhat towards the patients right shoulder). The angles for coronary surgery may favor a righty, especially the circumflex vessels. Although I never changed sides for CABGs, I sometimes did an anastomosis in the main circumflex for my partners from the patients left side. My most important opinion is that left handed surgeons should always have left handed needle holders, and start while they are residents (as I did in the 1960s)--otherwise you can never palm the needleholder!!!!

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