There are so many incorrect beliefs about how cataract surgery is done that I spend a fair amount of my time with patients simply re-educating them about cataract surgery as well as what results they can realistically expect after surgery (for example: most people will still need bifocals or readers after surgery with a standard lens implant).
There are plenty of explanations about how surgery is performed (and even a few descriptive videos or animations available online). However, these are all simplifications of the actual procedure. For anyone interested in more detail there are very few resources available to the general public. Fortunately, there is a detailed description of every cataract surgery performed in the USA. This description, known as the operative report (or ‘op report’) is generated by the surgeon after each case and becomes part of the medical record.
Unfortunately for those interested in reviewing these detailed reports, they are not available to the public as they are ‘protected health information’ (or PHI) that cannot be released except to a very limited number of approved entities (such as the insurance company) and individuals (such as the actual patient and his or her health care providers). Fortunately for the readers of my blog, I have created a draft of my standard operative report without any of the usual identifying information. Over the next two weeks I will publish this report as well as a line-by-line explanation of the terminology used in the report.
I believe this will be the only such example of an actual operative report template available online. Even if there are other PHI-stripped copies floating around on the net, the explanations I will provide over the next few posts are truly an exclusive inside look into the workings of a typical cataract surgery.
© 2009 David Richardson, MD