Do Surgeons Have Lives?

the surgeon's path Feb 11, 2020

“Surgeons don’t have lives.”

It’s not true, or at least, it doesn’t have to be. I live a full one, though it’s not without a conscious effort to do so. It’s not to say we don’t make sacrifices to be able to practice this craft - we do, and it is indeed a privilege.
I write about how surgeons balance their work with family as a guest writer on Take a look at the article here
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Reporting Dr. Google

bone and joint health Nov 25, 2019

As an orthopaedic surgeon, I often will be asked by patients about remedies they read about on the internet. “But Google said…”.  Well, I’d like to report this Doctor Google to the medical board. 


1. Dr. Google hasn’t gone through the appropriate schooling or residency

The schooling it takes to become a physician is extensive. After high school, there’s typically 4 years of undergraduate education, followed by 4 years of medical school, then anywhere from 3 to 7 years more of medical residency. Many physicians undergo additional fellowship or subspecialty training, which can be a minimum of another year before even starting practice. If you do the math, at minimum it’s 11 years more of education after high school.


2. Dr. Google doesn’t make it easy to distinguish science and pseudoscience 

Jade eggs? Biofrequency healing stickers? Dr. Google lets them all in. Just because there’s a celebrity behind the...

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Leading in Ortho

the surgeon's path Sep 16, 2019

I’m honored to have Dr. Jennifer Weiss, orthopaedic surgeon as my guest blogger today. Her list of accolades is long, and I am pleased to call her a colleague and a friend. Below, Dr. Weiss discusses her role in leadership in our field.

Less than 1 in 10 practicing orthopaedic surgeons are women. In my group of partners in Los Angeles, out of 15 orthopaedists, I am the only woman.  From 2013-2015, I served as Junior Member at Large on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS.)  At that time I spent the first year as the only woman on that board, until Dr. Lisa Cannada joined in 2014.  In 2018, I was appointed Chair of the AAOS Communications Cabinet.  Although this is not a position that is on the Board of Directors, I spent last year attending many of the board meetings as the leader of my cabinet.  The shift in the representation of women in the boardroom was tremendous.  I work(ed) alongside Amy Ladd,...
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Guilt as a Surgeon Mom

the surgeon's path Aug 29, 2019

He came out on time but scrawny, like a baby spider monkey. Even though it was 38.5 weeks and I was term, when my son was born, he looked nothing like the cherubic babies on the diaper boxes. He was only 5 pounds, 10 ounces and off-the-charts small.  Fortunately, other than being tiny, he was very healthy, and eventually caught up in height and weight. 


“What did I do wrong?” was my first thought as I laid eyes on him. Immediately, mom guilt set in. Did I work too much? Should I have taken fewer call shifts? Did my efforts to shield him from radiation in the OR with double the lead aprons do damage - squashing him down to this size in the process? Did I not eat enough meat? Should I have gained more weight? Less weight? In the moment, the scientist in me was supplanted by an emotional new mom’s worries of what she did wrong. 


That one moment whisked away how good I felt most of the whole 38.5 weeks of pregnancy. Other than some minor...

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Be Your Own Editor


This year, I learned that to have success and fulfillment, you don’t just DO, sometimes you have to UNDO. 


What do I mean by that? The process of undoing - or editing - it a key part of different areas of our lives. For example, we edit in medicine all the time. Think about the medical student’s SOAP note: the subjective story, the objective findings, the assessment and the plan. Imagine what a novel that daily note would be if in the subjective, details that weren’t pertinent to the current problem were included. “Mrs. S complains of shoulder pain, but likes mint chip ice cream over plain vanilla, and has a neighbor who has a dog named Scrappy.”  You may notice that the resident’s note is shorter than the medical student, and the attending’s note is even shorter. There is a reason that as we rise in the ranks of our medical training, our notes get shorter and more succinct. We edit. Even in surgery, as our skills...

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Path to Orthopaedics

the surgeon's path Jun 03, 2019

As a female orthopaedic surgeon, I am often asked how I ended up in this field. Although seeing women in orthopaedic surgery is becoming more common, we are still make up only 6% of the orthopaedic surgeons in the U.S.

I actually had no idea what orthopedic surgery was before medical school. In fact, I started medical school thinking I would be an internist, but it really didn't take me very long to realize how wrong I was. It became progressively clear as we approached clinical rotations as third year medical students who the “surgical: and “non-surgical” types were, with me clearly falling in the former.

Between the first and second years of medical school, a family friend offered me the opportunity to shadow in his total joint replacement practice. Rather than just spend a day or two with him, I spent a few weeks. During that time, I had the opportunity to see many facets of what it means to be an orthopaedic surgeon. I spent time in the operating room,...

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Dr. Mommy - How Do I Balance Being a Mom and an Orthopaedic Surgeon

the surgeon's path May 30, 2019

No one ever said parenthood was easy! Now combine that with a career as an orthopaedic surgeon and there are sure to be some challenges. Fortunately, it IS possible! I receive many questions from hopeful future surgeons about parenthood and a career in surgery. Here, I talk about my own experience. 

Thanks for watching, and make sure you head over to my YouTube channel and subscribe to be kept up to date on all my video content!

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the surgeon's path May 20, 2019


I’m an orthopaedic surgeon...but if you told me I’d be here when I graduated from college, I’d be laughing at you!  When I got started in college, I thought I was going to be a premed and apply to medical school. It was not a well-thought-out decision. I thought that this was what good Chinese-American children do...grow up to become doctors. It became clear that this goal was parent-driven and not my own.

At UCLA as a new freshman, I walked into my very first class, Bio 101, or whatever it was called back then. Although I came from a medium-sized high school, it sure was shocking to walk into a class of 600 other students, all vying for the premed track. Although I enjoyed biology, I very quickly got weeded out of this class.  Indeed, these were called the “weeder” classes for a reason. Now, here I am, freshman in college with what I thought was going to be a well-defined plan, without direction.

So I decided to take classes that just...

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My Personal Path to Orthopaedic Surgery

the surgeon's path May 16, 2019

Have you ever wondered how one goes about choosing their specialty after medical school? I talk here about how I discovered this specialty, and my own path to orthopaedic surgery and discovering my inner renaissance woman!

Thanks for watching, and make sure you head over to my YouTube channel and subscribe to be kept up to date on all my video content!

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Uncategorized May 06, 2019


It took me a long time to put a name to what I was feeling. Only recently had I started to read about Imposter Syndrome. I've had this feeling multiple times throughout my life and it always had the potential to pull me backwards instead of allowing me to propel forward towards my goals.

I had this feeling when I made it into college, then again in medical school. Even when I got out into practice, taking care of patients, I had that fear. Part of me was in awe of how far I had come, but the voice inside would tell me “They are going to find you out. You are a fraud.” Not because I really was. I legitimately studied, got the good grades, got the good test scores, impressed my attending surgeons, aced the interviews and made my way into medical school, residency, fellowship, and beyond. But this fear was still there and would occasionally rear its ugly head. It never quite goes away, but when I discovered a name for it and when I discovered that I was not the only...

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