Lights! Camera! Incision!


It looks like a taping of “ER.” A surgeon stands over a patient, scalpel in hand, ready to perform a high-tech spinal operation. He has a team of professionals supporting him—two anesthesiologists, four nurses and an X-ray technician. Meanwhile, three men with broadcast video cameras dot the room, listening through earpieces as a producer barks orders. When the producer says “cut” the cameras don’t stop. Instead, the doctor raises his scalpel—and makes a real-life incision.

This surgery was filmed last month for, a Web site that was launched six years ago as a way for doctors to bone up on new techniques by logging on to watch their peers perform surgeries. But recently the site’s been attracting a completely different audience: patients who are curious about new procedures.

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