What Does a General Surgeon Do?

Some surgeries require surgeons who specialize in certain things, like cardiac (heart) surgeons or neurosurgeons (brain surgeons), but not all. That’s why there are general surgeons.

A general surgeon has specialized knowledge of the entire surgical process, from the initial evaluation through preparation, procedure, and post-operative management. A general surgeon understands all nine basic areas of surgery, which are:

 

  • The digestive tract
  • The abdomen and its contents
  • The skin and soft tissue, including the breasts
  • The head and neck,
  • The blood vessels and heart
  • The endocrine system (hormones and glands)
  • Surgical treatment of cancer
  • Surgical management of traumatic injuries
  • Care of critically ill patients with surgical needs


Today, most general surgeons are familiar with minimally invasive techniques like laparoscopy. Laparoscopic surgeries involve much smaller tools, including tiny cameras that let the surgeon see what’s going on inside your body. These specialized instruments mean that the surgeon can make much smaller cuts than they would with traditional procedures.

 

General surgeons have a broad knowledge of many different diseases and conditions. They will recommend whether you need surgery and what kind of surgery would be appropriate.