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The purpose of this guide is to provide students with information regarding surgery.

Finding the Right Resource for Answers to Surgical Questions

An overview of a particular disease or condition, or background information

An ultrasound indicates your patient has gallstones (cholelithiasis). Where can you find an overview of this condition, including its etiology, when surgery is indicated, alternate treatments?

How will lung resection affect my patient's physiology? What perioperative care should I be prepared to order?

Review article through PubMed (limit to Publication type)

Access Surgery

Differential diagnosis decision support; diagnostic algorithms or pathways

You have a constellation of symptoms or suspect a certain diagnosis but need a differential structure.

I suspect my patient is in shock. What symptoms should I look for? What do I need to exclude? What tests do I need to order?

Why is this operation being done? indications? alternatives? timing? Evidence and rationale

Is surgery the best treatment for this condition? Do the benefits outweigh the risks?

PDQ Physician Data Query database from NCI

In patients with CNS lymphoma what is the most effective treatment: surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation?

What is the window of time during which angioplasty has better outcomes than thrombolysis in patients with acute MI?


Consider terms such as “time factors”[mesh], “comparative study” [Publication Type], “treatment outcome”[mesh], “surgery”[subheading]

Drug information focus on pain meds and antibiotics

What is the antibiotic of choice for treating your diverticulitis patient while he is being evaluated for surgery?

Micromedex – search keywords “antibiotic prophylaxis surgery” - consults w/ drugs of choice

Is the antibiotic I plan to prescribe covered by my patient's insurance?

LexiComp Drug Plans

Your patient is controlled on an IM opioid and must switch to an oral dosage form. Where can you find out how to calculate the equianalgesic dose?

Is it safe to use ketorolac in combination with NSAIDS for postoperative pain? What dose is best for geriatric patients? How often should it be given?

Synthesis of best-practice recommendations / Critically appraised topics / EBM

When are surgical interventions appropriate for a woman with chronic pelvic pain?

What are the pros and cons of removing orthopedic metal work in children?

What is the most safe and effective way to prevent venous thromboembolism in neurosurgery?

When is surgery indicated for depressed cranial fractures?


Quick access to evidence-based primary studies

Does operative delay increase mortality in hip fracture patients?

PubMed Clinical Queries

In elderly patients undergoing cholecystectomy does laparoscopic or open surgery have better outcomes?

Dynamed Plus

PDQ Physician Data Query database from NCI

Information for patients

I need information for my patient to prepare for a procedure. (In Somali, by the way.)

Where can you find material to give a low literacy patient explaining his diabetic diet?

Evidence-based information on alternative therapies

Is the gingko my patient is taking safe before surgery? What is the wash-out period?

Your patient takes quercitin, 1000 mg daily, for prostatitis. You want to prescribe Cipro for postoperative colorectal prophylaxis. Are there any concerns with this combination?