In Saw 3, a sequence is shown where Dr. Lynn Denlon performs an operation on John (Jigsaw) using a drill and other similar tools.

My first question is, how can they perform an operation where hardware tools are used rather than medical instruments? Also, how can a person speak during his open brain surgery?

My second question is, is there any similarity between this operation sequence and reality?

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    Im no doctor but i do know this: they keep you awake for most brain procedures to ensure they have not impared you in anyway by continuously testing your cognitive functions – Tablemaker Apr 27 '12 at 0:04
  • @TylerShads thanks for telling that, i didnot knew this previously. – Ankit Sharma Apr 27 '12 at 0:28
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    @TylerShads actually, not most brain procedures. This is done when removing parts of the brain that cause seizures. Often the person experiences a sensation before a seizure occurs. By stimulating parts of the brain suspected of causing the seizure the patient can say if they're experiencing the sensation (i.e. smelling burnt toast before a seizure). So when they smell toast the Doctor removes that part of the brain. No more seizure! If they were removing a brain tumor they would keep the patient sedated. – Reactgular May 20 '13 at 14:59
  • I'm sure since this is a graphic horror movie most of this stuff is done for effect. leave the audience thinking, "Oh, that really is ugly!" and "I wouldnt want him using that on me!" i mean, isn't that what horror shows are all about? Leaving the audience with a feeling of forboding? – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Oct 4 '13 at 11:43
  • they normally knock out the patient while opening the skull and then wake them up again for the tricky probing bit – HorusKol Jan 13 '15 at 5:06

I have not seen the movie so I have not seen the tools themselves. However operations which require cutting bone often require tools which might at first glance look like conventional power tools, such as drills. Tools designed for operations are designed to be very controllable in terms of speeds and the cutting implements themselves are made of high quality materials to prevent contamination, and can be autoclaved to be sterilized (using high pressure and temperature) but essentially they are not that far removed from hardware tools.

In terms of being awake during surgery. The main reason to anaesthetise a patient in an operation is to prevent the pain and stop any movement which would disturb the operation. The scalp itself has pain receptors but the brain has none, once the work has progressed into the brain itself no pain from that part would be felt, but with a local topical anaesthetic the scalp might not be too painful. One could imagine that you could be awake but not be in much discomfort in a brain operation.

  • +1 for the answer but if you see the movie they used circular saw and drill for operation which are proper hardware tools and even after some seconds of operation john done a long conversation which seems unrealistic. – Ankit Sharma Apr 27 '12 at 0:27
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    My wife is a surgical nurse in the neurological specialty. Surgeons often use medical power drills (stainless steel driven by air pressure or internal batteries and costing about $850 but suitable to be autoclaved) to make holes in the skull. They don't use circular saws. If they want the patient to be conscious, like when wanting feedback about symptom relief, they can do with minor local anesthetic for the scalp. – wallyk May 21 '13 at 8:02

I saw a video on the Discovery Channel where a Doctor was performing hip surgery. He used a DeWalt battery powered drill during the operation. I don't remember if it was wrapped in plastic or not, but I think the idea that a power tool is off limits simply because it's a power tool isn't right.

If the Doctor is doing something like screw a 4" medical bolt into your leg, then the standard equipment might not have the torque.

You can take a look at medial power tools at Alibaba.com to see what they look like. Some of the drills look a lot like regular drills you'd find in a store.

No, a Doctor would never use a circular saw in surgery, but they would use a reciprocating saw or a oscillating cutter. I'm sure there are medical grade versions of those.

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