How accurate is Grey’s Anatomy?

Three real medical cases that reminded healthcare professionals of the hit series

While the popular television series Grey’s Anatomy is best known for its dramatic call room encounters, the medical cases are more realistic than you might think. In fact, several of the incredible treatments featured on the show have been seen in cases shared by real-world healthcare professionals on Figure 1.

Below are three cases shared on Figure 1 featuring conditions and treatments that healthcare professionals might have only otherwise seen on television.


This is how real healthcare professionals are dealing with Grey’s Anatomy cases

1. A living skin graft

“Same procedure was just mentioned on tonight’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy,” said a nursing student.

In the season 12 episode “Things We Lost In The Fire,” a rare treatment for burns called a pedicle flap—a soft tissue cover with direct blood flow — is used to treat injured firefighters at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. While this technique was an elegant solution for the fictional crisis at hand, it used by plastic surgeons in real life as an effective therapeutic option.

In a case shared on Figure 1, this technique was used to treat a patient who had been working on his car when a fender fell and pinned his hand to the ground. Even though he had gloves on, his left hand and fingers sustained substantial third-degree burns that left treatment options limited. The registered nurse who shared the case said that the patient healed within a month thanks to this surgical approach.

View the case on Figure 1 →


2. Three spleens and a rare diagnosis

“People dog on medical shows a lot but I actually learned about situs inversus from Grey’s Anatomy,” says a nursing student. “The polysplenia in addition to it is fascinating.”

On Figure 1, the scans of a 24-year-old male show complete abdominal situs inversus with polysplenia syndrome. Three individual spleens are visible on the right side of the patient’s scans.


3. An unusual twin pregnancy

“I would NEVER have known what this storyline was about if I hadn’t recently learned about it on Figure 1,” comments a registered nurse, referring to the season 12 episode “You Can Look (But You’d Better Not Touch).” In this episode, the team at Grey Sloan Memorial manages a dramatic case of TRAP (Twin Reversed Arterial Perfusion) sequence, a rare twin pregnancy where the blood flow between fetuses is reversed, causing a malformation in one twin.

On Figure 1, a case shared shows the very real outcome of TRAP sequence in pregnancy.

View the case here →

See more from Figure 1:

How to suture The top medical cases of the year


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