Surgery Questions for Med Students!

December 20, 2017

Worried about the questions you're going to get asked during your surgery rotation? I was too! Here are the top questions that I got asked, a few of my friends also had the same questions asked to them as well! Hope it helps and makes you look super smart!


Print this off for your own review!

If you have any questions or anything looks wrong, shoot me an email!



  Questions I got Pimped On

During My Surgery Rotation:


  1. What are the main physical exam findings that are suggestive of Peritonitis? Rigid abdomen + guarding + rebound tenderness

  2. What artery is important anatomically to differentiate the two kinds of inguinal hernias? Inferior Epigastric Artery (IEA)

  3. Which hernia goes through hesselbach’s triangle and which one goes straight into the scrotum? Direct, indirect respectively

    1. HINT: remember I Love My Dog (Indirect is Lateral to IEA, Medial to IEA is Direct) – like that, made it up by myself ;)

  4. Why would you have elevated LFT’s after a gallbladder removal? Because the gallbladder is in close proximity with the liver and you will most likely damage some of the cells of the liver as you remove the gallbladder (increase in transaminases indicates liver cell death)

  5. After a port-a-cath placement, why do you need to get a CXR? To make sure you didn’t cause a pneumothorax

  6. When do you start screening for a colonoscopy? Age 50 in someone who does not have a family history, if a patient has a first degree relative with colon cancer, start screening the patient 10 years before the age of diagnosis of the family member

    1. If there is ever blood in the stool or prolonged constipation/diarrhea without a cause, then a colonoscopy is necessary even before the age of screening is reached

  7. What is the most common cause of a Small Bowel Obstruction, Large Bowel Obstruction? SBO – adhesions, LBO - malignancy

  8. What runs through the spermatic cord? Vas deferens AND testicular artery

  9. What is the classic presentation for cholangitis and what is the triad/pentad that serves as the diagnostic criteria? Charcot’s triad, Reynolds’s pentad

  10. Most common reason a patient younger than 18 would have to undergo surgery? Infants – usually due to tube placement in ears, children – due to appendicitis

  11. Why do we take such a large chunk of temporal artery for GCA confirmatory diagnosis? Because giant cell arthritis has "skip lesions." The sensitivity increases with longer biopsy

  12. What is the node of the gallbladder that increases with inflammation? Calot’s node (this has multiple names)

  13. What is the muscular valve that carries bile from the ampulla of Vater through to the duodenum called? The sphincter of Oddi

  14. If a patient is diagnosed with colonic pseudo-obstruction, what medication can be given to stimulate the muscles of the intestines to relieve the obstruction? Neostigmine

    1. I saw 2 cases of Ogilvie’s Syndrome (super rare) on my surgery rotation and we used this cholinesterase inhibitor to relieve the obstruction

  15. When this nerve is damaged, it causes winging of the scapula: Long thoracic nerve

  16. What separates external and internal hemorrhoids? The dentate line

  17. Nerves potentially damaged in inguinal hernia repair? Genitofemoral and Ilioinguinal nerve

  18. What electrolytes need to be monitored for refeeding syndrome? Phosphate, Magnesium, Potassium

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