What is a General Surgeon

General Surgeon

A general surgeon is a professional physician who has been equipped with the knowledge to carry out surgeries, understand physiology, anatomy, shock and resuscitation, nutrition, emergency and intensive care, wound healing, metabolism, pathology, and immunology.

What Can a General Surgeon Do?

A general surgeon can perform various surgeries that involve:

  • Pancreas, liver, and kidney transplantation
  • Trauma to the thorax and abdomen
  • General surgery of childhood
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Skin conditions
  • Breast conditions
  • Elective surgery
  • Gastrointestinal tract

Most general surgeons have a sub specialty, and they undertake more general work.

Characteristics of a General Surgeon

A general surgeon has to be able to work under pressure and he or she must be a fast problem solver. General surgeons need to know the cause of the issue and act fast in case a life threatening complications arise during surgery.

General surgeons are considered to be team players, as they do not work alone. Accompanied by nurses, surgical technicians, and assistant surgeons, a general surgeon needs to have adequate communication skills while in the operating room so he or she can lead properly.

A Common Procedure

Also referred as keyhole surgery, laparoscopic or minimally invasive surgery is currently practiced in general surgery. These methods are mostly used because they result in less scarring and it shortens a patient’s recovery time. Laparoscopy is now used to perform the majority of abdominal operations such as hernia repair and bowel tumor.

Sub-Specialties of General Surgeons

  • Endocrine surgery- performed on thyroid and other endocrine glands
  • Transplant surgery- liver, pancreas and kidney transplantations
  • Breast surgery- surgery for breast cancer and breast reconstruction
  • Upper gastrointestinal- surgery of the stomach, pancreas, esophagus, and the liver.
  • Lower gastrointestinal surgery- surgery of the rectum, colon, anal canal, and bowel cancer.

Where Do General Surgeons Work?

Departments that require emergency surgery are where general surgeons are required. General surgeons are also required in rural and remote locations. In the case of accidents, general surgeons perform trauma surgery.

Complex surgery, like an organ transplant, can only be carried out by a few general surgeons within their subspecialty

The Career of a General Surgeon

The standards of surgery in a community are set by general surgeons. They select the appropriate procedures for the patients. General surgeons are the only people with the knowledge on which procedures can be performed when patients require advanced medical treatment.


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