Despite its name, general surgery is a surgical specialty. General surgeons are responsible for patient care before, during, and after surgery, as well as performing operations for a wide range of common diseases.
All surgeons must begin their training in general surgery, however, many choose to specialize later.
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What Is Included in General Surgery
General surgeons are educated to operate on the following organs, according to the American Board of Surgery:
- Alimentary tract (esophagus and related organs)
- Abdomen and its contents
- Breast, skin, and soft tissue
- Endocrine system
General surgeons are also required to have knowledge and expertise in the following areas:
- Surgical critical care
- Surgical oncology
Despite the name “generic,” general surgeons are highly trained surgeons who specialize in common abdominal ailments such as appendicitis, hernias, gallbladder operations, stomach, and intestinal problems.
General surgeons may specialize in a type of surgery, such as treating cancer or burns, that needs the surgeon to be able to do treatments on many regions of the body, thus this concentration on the abdomen is not absolute.
One of the distinctive aspects of general surgery is the diversity of sub-specialties that exist within it, given the vast spectrum of work done by general surgeons. These are some of them:
The overall duty for trauma care is delegated to general surgery. Some general surgeons specialize in surgical critical care and get further training and certification in this discipline. General surgeons must be competent to handle nearly any surgical emergency on the spot. They are frequently the first line of defense for severely ill or badly injured patients, and they must conduct several operations to stabilize them, including thoracostomy, cricothyroidotomy, compartment fasciotomies, and emergency laparotomies or thoracotomies to stop bleeding.
This is a relatively emerging specialty that uses cameras and tiny devices put into 3 to 15mm incisions to perform limited access procedures. This procedure can be used to remove gallbladders, appendices, and colons. Laparoscopic surgery can also be used to treat hernias. It is possible to conduct bariatric surgery laparoscopically, which has the advantage of reducing wound problems in obese individuals. Today’s general surgeons are required to be able to do laparoscopic operations.
Irritable bowel disorders (such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease), diverticulitis, colon and rectal cancer, gastrointestinal bleeding, and hemorrhoids are among the major and minor colon and rectal ailments that general surgeons treat.
The bulk of non-cosmetic breast surgery, from lumpectomy to mastectomy, is performed by general surgeons, particularly in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer
Vascular surgery can be performed by general surgeons who have received specialized training and certification in the field. Aside from that, vascular surgery specialists are usually the ones who conduct these treatments. General surgeons, on the other hand, are capable of addressing minor vascular issues.
All or part of the thyroid and parathyroid glands in the neck, as well as the adrenal glands directly above each kidney in the abdomen, are removed by general surgeons. They are the only surgeons trained to perform this in many towns. Other specialty surgeons may acquire responsibility for these operations in areas with a large number of subspecialists.
All aspects of pre-surgical, operational, and post-operative care of abdominal organ transplant patients are my responsibility. The liver, kidney, pancreas, and small bowel are among the organs that have been transplanted.
Why Do Doctors Choose to Go Into General Surgery
General surgeons practice a wide range of surgical operations, and their broad-based education allows them to conduct a wide range of procedures in the course of their work.
Some may choose to specialize, but others like the diversity that a genuine general surgeon’s day brings and perform a wide range of treatments.
General surgeons are also able to work in several settings and with a wide range of medical teams and patients.
The qualified general surgeon must also have knowledge and skills in illnesses that necessitate team-based multidisciplinary treatment, as well as leadership abilities.
In addition, certified general surgeons must be familiar with the special clinical needs of the following patient groups:
- Palliative care and pain treatment for terminally ill patients; nutritional deficiencies; cachexia in malignant and chronic disease patients; and counseling and support for end-of-life decisions and care.
- Morbidly obese individuals, including metabolic derangements; surgical and non-surgical weight reduction treatments (bariatrics); and patient and family counseling.
- Management of comorbid chronic illnesses in geriatric surgical patients.
- Patient populations are culturally varied and fragile.
Training as a Surgeon
Those interested in becoming surgeons must first apply to a surgical residency program. They are technically a physician once they graduate from medical school, although they are still less than halfway through their study.
A surgical residency begins with the intern year, which is followed by at least four more years of surgical training. On their way to their ultimate surgical career, all surgeons go through this training.
General surgeons must undergo 48 months of full-time clinical training during their education. They may finish some training in another specialty, but they must devote no more than 12 months to any surgical specialty other than general surgery.
The surgeon is completely trained in general surgery after completing the intern year and four further years of study, and can then opt to practice general surgery or pursue a surgical specialization and many more years of training as a surgical resident or fellow.
Any surgeon who works in a surgical specialty, such as cardiothoracic surgery, receives five years of general surgery training before moving on to specialized training for an additional year.
A general surgeon is a highly proficient surgeon, and the term “general” should not be confused with “untrained.” The general surgeon should be thought of as a specialist in routinely done operations like appendectomies and other treatments.
While a surgical specialty necessitates further training in a specific form of surgery, the general surgeon is a vital member of the healthcare team for the treatment of common ailments that can be treated with surgery.