Stories about: surgery

A film called ‘Squint’ will open your eyes to the power of strabismus surgery

The film "Squint" follows six patients who undergo strabismus surgery.
The short film “Squint” follows six patients who undergo strabismus surgery with Dr. David Hunter of Boston Children’s Hospital. Click here to watch on YouTube.

When Dr. Bernard Dib was medical student, he was struck by the impact that Dr. David Hunter had on patients who visited him for strabismus (crossed eye) surgery.

“I saw people from all over the world thanking him for changing their lives,” Dib says, who rotated electively into Hunter’s clinic as part of his medical school program. “Adults would say that they had a crossed eye for years and their doctors hadn’t ever said that surgery was an option for them.”

Hunter, who is ophthalmologist-in-chief at Boston Children’s Hospital, is not only an expert at performing surgery to correct crossed eyes in children but also in adults. …Read More

Preparing patients for spinal fusion surgery

A nurse assists as a spinal fusion surgery patient practices giving a medical dummy an IV drug.
Hands-on experience before surgery day: A simulation of what to expect during spinal fusion surgery.

Several studies have contributed to the school of thought that thoroughly preparing patients for surgery can reduce their anxiety and even lead to better recoveries and outcomes. That notion appears to be corroborated by the first-hand experience of Michael Glotzbecker, MD, a pediatric spine specialist and surgeon in the Boston Children’s Hospital Spinal Program.

“In my experience, patients do better when they are well prepared for surgery,” says Glotzbecker. …Read More

Seeing esotropia? Take fast action: Q&A with ophthalmologist

Diagram showing esotropia, aka an inward-turning crossed eye
Esotropia is the term used to describe an inward-turning crossed eye.


According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, about 4 percent of children have some form of strabismus (crossed eye). In infants, the most common type of crossed eye is known as esotropia, which is when the eye or eyes turn inward.

Although it can sometimes be as simple as prescribing glasses to correct the eye’s alignment, it’s important to seek expert care early.

Early intervention can:

  • rule out any potentially serious underlying disease
  • identify appropriate treatment to quickly correct the crossed eye and
  • prevent lingering long-term effects.

Boston Children’s Ophthalmologist-in-Chief, David Hunter, MD, PhD, offers advice to pediatricians on what to do when a patient suddenly develops esotropia. …Read More

All hands on deck to close the global surgery gap


As novel surgical techniques are being developed in the U.S. for rare and complex conditions, five billion people worldwide lack access to basic surgical care.

The Lancet Commission on Global Surgery detailed the enormous scope of this disparity in their landmark report, published in April 2015. The authors of the report found that 143 million additional surgeries are needed each year to save lives and prevent disability ― requiring a $350 billion global investment by 2030. But the case for action isn’t just humanitarian. Investing in surgery ― the neglected stepchild of global health ― would save developing countries approximately $12.3 trillion in lost GDP by 2030.

Two months after the report was published, the commission’s leaders ― along with ministries of health ― were already working on adding surgical indicators to the World Bank’s World Development Indicators, in order to better measure global surgery access moving forward. And just last week, the World Bank accepted four for their site:

  1. Number of surgical procedures,
  2. Density of specialist surgical providers,
  3. Risk of catastrophic expenditure for surgical care, and
  4. Risk of impoverishing expenditure for surgical care

“It’s amazing that the World Bank accepted our indicators,” says John G. Meara, MD, DMD, MBA, Plastic Surgeon-in-Chief at Boston Children’s Hospital and co-chair of the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery. “This will change the nature of global surgery and anesthesia research for the future. Now there is data that researchers can easily pull down and use for master’s and PhD theses.”

The hard-working commission presses on ― moving forward their agenda from a focus on analysis and measurement towards one of action. Earlier this month, Meara and his colleagues published a paper in BMJ Global Health, entitled, Global Surgery 2030: A Roadmap for High Income Country Actors. The paper challenges high-income countries to do their part in ending the access gap by 2030, stating they must “abandon colonial narratives and work alongside low and middle income country partners to build the surgical systems of the future.”

High-income countries must abandon colonial narratives and work alongside low and middle income country partners to build the surgical systems of the future.

It outlines a series of actionable recommendations that universities, hospitals, surgeons, biotech companies, and the media in wealthy countries can take to help deliver surgical and anesthesia care to low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). “This report demonstrates a common policy agenda between major actors,” Meara says. “It provides a roadmap for maximizing benefit to surgical patients worldwide.”

Read the full paper in BMJ Global Health and an exclusive Q&A with John Meara.