Images of Surgery in Colombia


I have published several Images of Surgery in Colombia to the web to give outsiders a glimpse into the operating rooms here in Bogota.  But since Yahoo! has overhauled their site – I will publish images here for readers, including photos from some of my other travels (Mexico, Medellin).

However, please do not use/ copy/ alter these images without my express written permission.  (All photos by K. Eckland)

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Dr. Nelson Renteria, Thoracic and Vascular Surgeon


What a delightful afternoon with Dr. Renteria and Dr. Cecilia Villasante (Radiology)!  Dr. Renteria works at the Centro Vascular del Country, which led me to suspect that he may no longer practice thoracic surgery.. But, happily, I was wrong.

While I enjoy meeting all the wonderful and interesting people from all surgical specialties (like the orthopedic surgeons I met with today), I can never deny how much I enjoy talking to people from my home specialties.  Maybe it makes me a little less homesick for my patients because it’s all so familiar.. And it’s always thrilling to meet people who find empyemas,  VATS and all these other things thoracic as interesting and engrossing as I do, especially when you meet people like Dr. Renteria, who still loves what he does as much as I do.  He still enjoys discussing cases, and has a real enthusiasm for his patients.

And – He does esophagectomies!  (Not many thoracic surgeons in Colombia perform esophageal surgery which is kind of like the ‘open heart’ surgery of thoracics*.)  He completed his fellowship training in esophageal surgery at Toronto General Hospital with Dr. Pearson (Dr. F. Griffith Pearson of Pearson’s Thoracic and Esophageal Surgery) and currently does esophagectomies here in Bogota.  (This is much bigger news than it sounds – finding qualified thoracic surgeons that perform an adequate number of esophagectomies can be difficult even in large centers.  Currently, in my home state of Virginia  – University of Virginia is home to the largest esophageal surgery center with three dedicated thoracic surgeons.  Even my beloved Duke only does about 75-76 cases a year.)

So, I admit I lost a bit of my professional cool (if I ever had any).  I was like a kid in a candy store – talking about pre-operative optimization, Ivor -Lewis versus Transhiatal approaches, node dissection and other minutiae that I enjoy.

I must say – I am looking forward to following him to the operating room soon!

** Studies show a significant decrease in morbidity and mortality when esophagectomies are performed by thoracic surgeons (versus general surgeons).

In the OR with Dr. Buitrago, in the dentist’s chair and more


Spent the morning at Shaio, in the operating room with Dr. Ricardo Buitrago.. Either my gringa accent is improving (doubtful) or I really have become a familiar face around there..  Observed Dr. Buitrago perform a couple of cases; the second was a VATS thymectomy, which definitely ranks above the traditional sternotomy.

Dr. Buitrago, thoracic surgeon

Ran into some strangely reticent native english speakers in the halls of Shaio today.. (Usually Americans, Brits and the like get real familiar with each other when we see another..) Didn’t introduce themselves even after I made a point of introducing myself.. Something’s up over at Clinica Shaio.. Is it a medical tourism company, or an impending branding agreement?  I’ll see what I can find out.

Next I checked in with Dr. Gamboa, DDS – for those of you reading from afar – dental evaluations are completely different – they require an actual patient visit (no observation here.)  Now that all of my family, friends, classmates and housemates have served as confederates for dental visits – I knew what was next when I cracked a tooth last week.. (Just so everyone knows how dedicated I am to my research – I had several dental repairs without anesthesia of any sort.. (no local, nada).   And truthfully, it went very well.. (and my teeth look / feel great..)

Dr. Gamboa, DDS

last, but certainly not least for today was Dr. Fabian Emura, MD, PhD.  He didn’t have a lot of time today, so I am going back Wednesday so I can tell you more about him, and the Emuracenter, which is doing a lot of interesting things for the diagnosis and treatment of gastric cancers..