How Surgeons Remain Focused: Organ-transplant surgeons have an impressive set of skills. Steady hands, thick skin, and an ability to concentrate for hours. While the duration of surgery differs, surgeons must be on call around the clock and ready to perform surgery at any hour.

A liver transplant takes anywhere from eight to 10 hours. However, other surgeries can take longer than a day. The Bronx-based abdominal-organ transplant team of Montefiore Einstein Center for Transplantation typically performs one long surgery a week.

For Dr. Milan Kinkhabwala, there is an innate capacity for performance. Dr. Kinkhabwala explains, “You get in the zone when you are operating. Your mind is so focused on what you are doing, you are not aware of time.”

Dr. Kinkhabwala and his team of surgeons have found a healthy balance of strategies to help keep them focused in the operating room. Here are three ways to retain focus as a surgeon:

How Surgeons Remain Focused- Technique #1: Limit Distractions

Dr. Kinkhabwala and his team give all of their attention to the surgery at hand. They avoid checking their cellphones as it can divert their attention. Additionally, many surgeons wear loupes to magnify their work, which significantly restricts their field of vision.

How Surgeons Remain Focused- Technique #2: Reduce Stress

To keep his mind from wandering, Dr. Kinkhabwala likes to play music when performing surgery. His 14 hour-long playlist features many nostalgic songs, which helps reduce stress and fatigue.

How Surgeons Remain Focused- Technique #3: Stay Fit

Surgery requires doctors to stand for long periods of time, often hunched over a table. Dr. Jay Graham practices yoga to combat back and neck pain brought on by the long hours of surgery. Additionally, Graham has adopted a vegan diet to stay physically fit.