A UK term of art for a surgical procedure in which an inexperienced surgeon (or one inexperienced in the type of procedure on which he* is so boldly embarking) realises, after getting elbows deep in muck, that he’s in tiger country, guileless, guideless and gunless.
*I would also say she, but I’m told women don’t make mistakes…ever. The classic whoops surgery is that in which the operator expects–and plans for that and no more–a banal lesion that he can shell out or excise with a minimal rim of normal tissue and he finds a soft tissue sarcoma in which his impetuosity (“whoops”) just screwed up the margins, making complete excision by a specialised sarcoma surgeon more difficult, while worsening the prognosis.
Synonym Oh my God! procedure
Reference Professor Neil Shepherd, 25.01.2011