Surgical Assisting


Medical Board of California stipulates that a Podiatrist may assist any surgery, head to toe.  Op- reports will list Dr. Yenn as "second surgeon" or "assistant surgeon."  California law also permits DPMs to perform complete histories and physicals (H&P's) such as for hospital admissions.

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Here's the law,

Surgical Assisting - The Board is frequently asked if DPMs may assist MDs in surgery: They may. DPMs may (1) practice as authorized by their license, and (2) provide any service for which a license is not required. As DPMs generally have greater surgical training than unlicensed surgical assistants, physician assistants and nurses, health facilities may wish to utilize their services. BPM encourages inter-professional teamwork for the benefit of the patient.

Ankle Surgery - Most DPMs may perform ankle surgery, if privileged. The only exception are podiatric surgeons who obtained their DPM license before 1984 and never obtained a separate “ankle license.” The license verification link on our website will show "License or Registration Class: ANK" for the standard, full licensure. Non-ankle licensed DPMs may assist in ankle surgery. BPM interprets surgical treatment of the ankle to include those parts of the tibia, fibula, their malleoli and related structures as indicated by the procedures.

Scope of Practice - DPMs with regular licensees are authorized to practice "podiatric medicine" as defined by §2472 of the Medical Practice Act: "the diagnosis, medical, surgical, mechanical, manipulative, and electrical treatment of the human foot, including the ankle and tendons that insert into the foot and the nonsurgical treatment of the muscles and tendons of the leg governing the functions of the foot." The Medical Practice Act prohibits DPMs from (1) performing total amputations of the foot and (2) personally administering general anesthetics. DPMs may administer IV sedation. Nurse anesthetists may administer general anesthetics for podiatric surgery.

DPMs independently diagnose, treat, and prescribe. California law permits MDs and DPMs to perform complete histories and physicals. Updated Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) standards permit DPMs to perform all or part of the medical history and physical examination at a hospital or ambulatory care facility, if granted such privileges.

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Board of Podiatric Medicine


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