Surgeon–patient communication during awake procedures

Claire S. Smith, Kristina Guyton, Joseph J. Pariser, Mark Siegler, Nancy Schindler, Alexander Langerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background Surgeons are increasingly performing procedures on awake patients. Communication during such procedures is complex and underexplored in the literature. Methods Surgeons were recruited from the faculty of 2 hospitals to participate in an interview regarding their approaches to communication during awake procedures. Three researchers used the constant comparative method to transcribe, code, and review interviews until saturation was reached. Results Twenty-three surgeons described the advantages and disadvantages of awake procedures, their communication with the awake patient, their interactions with staff and with trainees, the environment of awake procedures, and how communication in this context is taught and learned. Conclusions Surgeons recognized communication during awake procedures as important and reported varied strategies for ensuring patient comfort in this context. However, they also acknowledged challenges with multiparty communication during awake procedures, especially in balancing commitments to teaching with their duty to comfort the patient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)996-1002.e1
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Bucksbaum Institute for Clinical Excellence at the University of Chicago, the Summer Research Program at the University of Chicago, and the Operative Performance Research Institute at the University of Chicago.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Inc.

Copyright 2017 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Communication
  • Doctor–patient relationship
  • Ethics
  • Qualitative research
  • Surgery


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