General surgery is a surgical specialty that focuses on abdominal contents including esophagus, stomach, small bowel, colon, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, appendix and bile ducts, and often the thyroid gland (depending on local referral patterns). They also deal with diseases involving the skin, breast, soft tissue, trauma, peripheral vascular surgery and hernias and perform endoscopic procedures such as gastroscopy and colonoscopy.
General surgeons may sub-specialize into one or more of the following disciplines:
In many parts of the world including North America, Australia and the United Kingdom, the overall responsibility for trauma care falls under the auspices of general surgery. Some general surgeons obtain advanced training in this field (most commonly surgical critical care) and specialty certification surgical critical care. General surgeons must be able to deal initially with almost any surgical emergency. Often, they are the first port of call to critically ill or gravely injured patients, and must perform a variety of procedures to stabilize such patients, such as thoracostomy, cricothyroidotomy, compartment fasciotomies and emergency laparotomy or thoracotomy to stanch bleeding. They are also called upon to staff surgical intensive care units or trauma intensive care units.
All general surgeons are trained in emergency surgery. Bleeding, infections, bowel obstructions and organ perforations are the main problems they deal with. Cholecystectomy, the surgical removal of the gallbladder, is one of the most common surgical procedures done worldwide. This is most often done electively, but the gallbladder can become acutely inflamed and require an emergency operation. Infections and rupture of the appendix and small bowel obstructions are other common emergencies.
This is a relatively new specialty dealing with minimal access techniques using cameras and small instruments inserted through 3 to 15mm incisions. Robotic surgery is now evolving from this concept (see below). Gallbladders, appendices, and colons can all be removed with this technique. Hernias are also able to be repaired laparoscopically. Bariatric surgery can be performed laparoscopically and there a benefits of doing so to reduce wound complications in obese patients. General surgeons that are trained today are expected to be proficient in laparoscopic procedures.
General surgeons treat a wide variety of major and minor colon and rectal diseases including inflammatory bowel diseases (such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease), diverticulitis, colon and rectal cancer, gastrointestinal bleeding and hemorrhoids.
General surgeons can perform vascular surgery if they receive special training and certification in vascular surgery. Otherwise, these procedures are performed by vascular surgery specialists. However, general surgeons are capable of treating minor vascular disorders.
General surgeons are trained to remove all or part of the thyroid and parathyroid glands in the neck and the adrenal glands just above each kidney in the abdomen. In many communities, they are the only surgeon trained to do this. In communities that have a number of subspecialists, other subspecialty surgeons may assume responsibility for these procedures.
Responsible for all aspects of pre-operative, operative, and post-operative care of abdominal organ transplant patients. Transplanted organs include liver, kidney, pancreas, and more rarely small bowel.
Surgical oncologist refers to a general surgical oncologist (a specialty of a general surgeon), but thoracic surgical oncologists, gynecologist and so forth can all be considered surgeons who specialize in treating cancer patients. The importance of training surgeons who sub-specialize in cancer surgery lies in evidence, supported by a number of clinical trials, that outcomes in surgical cancer care are positively associated to surgeon volume—i.e., the more cancer cases a surgeon treats, the more proficient he or she becomes, and his or her patients experience improved survival rates as a result. This is another controversial point, but it is generally accepted—even as common sense—that a surgeon who performs a given operation more often, will achieve superior results when compared with a surgeon who rarely performs the same procedure. This is particularly true of complex cancer resections such as pancreaticoduodenectomy for pancreatic cancer, and gastrectomy with extended (D2) lymphadenectomy for gastric cancer. Surgical oncology is generally a 2 year fellowship following completion of a general surgery residency (5-7 years).
Most cardiothoracic surgeons in the U.S. (D.O. or M.D.) first complete a general surgery residency (typically 5–7 years), followed by a cardiothoracic surgery fellowship (typically 2–3 years).
Pediatric surgery is a subspecialty of general surgery. Pediatric surgeons do surgery on patients age lower than 18. Pediatric surgery is 5–7 years of residency and a 2-3 year fellowship.
In the 2000s minimally invasive surgery became more prevalent. Considerable enthusiasm has been built around robot-assisted surgery (also known as robotic surgery), despite a lack of data suggesting it has significant benefits that justify its cost.
In Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States general surgery is a five to seven year residency and follows completion of medical school, either MD, MBBS, MBChB, or DO degrees. In Australia and New Zealand, a residency leads to eligibility for Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. In Canada, residency leads to eligibility for certification by and Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, while in the United States, completion of a residency in general surgery leads to eligibility for board certification by the American Board of Surgery or the American Osteopathic Board of Surgery which is also required upon completion of training for a general surgeon to have operating privileges at most hospitals in the United States.
In the United Kingdom, surgical trainees enter training after five years of medical school and two years of the Foundation Programme. During the two to three-year core training programme, doctors will sit the Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS) examination. On award of the MRCS examination, surgeons may hold the title 'Mister' or 'Miss/Ms./Mrs' rather than doctor. This is a tradition dating back hundreds of years in the United Kingdom from when only physicians attended medical school and surgeons did not, but were rather associated with barbers in the Barber Surgeon’s Guild. The tradition is also present in many Commonwealth countries including New Zealand and some states of Australia. Trainees will then go onto Higher Surgical Training (HST), lasting a further five to six years. During this time they may choose to subspecialise. Before the end of HST, the examination of Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS) must be taken in general surgery plus the subspeciality. Upon completion of training, the surgeon will become a consultant surgeon and will be eligible for entry on the GMC Specialist Register and may work both in the NHS and independent sector as a consultant general surgeon. The implementation of the European Working Time Directive limited UK surgical residents to a 48-hour working week. The introduction of a sub-consultant grade to enable those who have recently received a UK Certificate of Completion of Training may be necessary.
Abdominal pain, also known as a stomach ache, is a symptom associated with both non-serious and serious medical issues.
Common causes of pain in the abdomen include gastroenteritis and irritable bowel syndrome. About 10% of people have a more serious underlying condition such as appendicitis, leaking or ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm, diverticulitis, or ectopic pregnancy. In a third of cases the exact cause is unclear.Given that a variety of diseases can cause some form of abdominal pain, a systematic approach to examination of a person and the formulation of a differential diagnosis remains important.Abdominoperineal resection
An abdominoperineal resection, formally known as abdominoperineal resection of the rectum and abdominoperineal excision of the rectum is a surgery for rectal cancer or anal cancer. It is frequently abbreviated as AP resection, APR and APER.Abscess
An abscess is a collection of pus that has built up within the tissue of the body. Signs and symptoms of abscesses include redness, pain, warmth, and swelling. The swelling may feel fluid-filled when pressed. The area of redness often extends beyond the swelling. Carbuncles and boils are types of abscess that often involve hair follicles, with carbuncles being larger.They are usually caused by a bacterial infection. Often many different types of bacteria are involved in a single infection. In the United States and many other areas of the world the most common bacteria present is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Rarely, parasites can cause abscesses; this is more common in the developing world. Diagnosis of a skin abscess is usually made based on what it looks like and is confirmed by cutting it open. Ultrasound imaging may be useful in cases in which the diagnosis is not clear. In abscesses around the anus, computer tomography (CT) may be important to look for deeper infection.Standard treatment for most skin or soft tissue abscesses is cutting it open and drainage. There appears to be some benefit from also using antibiotics. A small amount of evidence supports not packing the cavity that remains with gauze after drainage. Closing this cavity right after draining it rather than leaving it open may speed healing without increasing the risk of the abscess returning. Sucking out the pus with a needle is often not sufficient.Skin abscesses are common and have become more common in recent years. Risk factors include intravenous drug use, with rates reported as high as 65% among users. In 2005 in the United States, 3.2 million people went to the emergency department for an abscess. In Australia, around 13,000 people were hospitalized in 2008 with the condition.Acute abdomen
An acute abdomen refers to a sudden, severe abdominal pain. It is in many cases a medical emergency, requiring urgent and specific diagnosis. Several causes need surgical treatment.Appendectomy
An appendectomy (known outside the United States as appendisectomy or appendicectomy) is a surgical operation in which the vermiform appendix (a portion of the intestine) is removed. Appendectomy is normally performed as an urgent or emergency procedure to treat acute appendicitis.
Appendectomy may be performed laparoscopically (as minimally invasive surgery) or as an open operation. Laparoscopy is often used if the diagnosis is in doubt, or in order to leave a less visible surgical scar. Recovery may be slightly faster after laparoscopic surgery, although the laparoscopic procedure itself is more expensive and resource-intensive than open surgery and generally takes longer. Advanced pelvic sepsis occasionally requires a lower midline laparotomy. In US adults, the 30-day mortality after appendectomy was 1.8%.Billroth I
Billroth I, more formally Billroth's operation I, is an operation in which the pylorus is removed and the distal stomach is anastomosed directly to the duodenum.The operation is most closely associated with Theodor Billroth, but was first described by Polish surgeon Ludwik Rydygier.The surgical procedure is called a gastroduodenostomy.Bowel obstruction
Bowel obstruction, also known as intestinal obstruction, is a mechanical or functional obstruction of the intestines which prevents the normal movement of the products of digestion. Either the small bowel or large bowel may be affected. Signs and symptoms include abdominal pain, vomiting, bloating and not passing gas. Mechanical obstruction is the cause of about 5 to 15% of cases of severe abdominal pain of sudden onset requiring admission to hospital.Causes of bowel obstruction include adhesions, hernias, volvulus, endometriosis, inflammatory bowel disease, appendicitis, tumors, diverticulitis, ischemic bowel, tuberculosis and intussusception. Small bowel obstructions are most often due to adhesions and hernias while large bowel obstructions are most often due to tumors and volvulus. The diagnosis may be made on plain X-rays; however, CT scan is more accurate. Ultrasound or MRI may help in the diagnosis of children or pregnant women.The condition may be treated conservatively or with surgery. Typically intravenous fluids are given, a tube is placed through the nose into the stomach to decompress the intestines, and pain medications are given. Antibiotics are often given. In small bowel obstruction about 25% require surgery. Complications may include sepsis, bowel ischemia and bowel perforation.About 3.2 million cases of bowel obstruction occurred in 2015 which resulted in 264,000 deaths. Both sexes are equally affected and the condition can occur at any age. Bowel obstruction has been documented throughout history, with cases detailed in the Ebers Papyrus of 1550 BC and by Hippocrates.Colorectal surgery
Colorectal surgery is a field in medicine dealing with disorders of the rectum, anus, and colon. The field is also known as proctology, but this term is now used infrequently within medicine and is most often employed to identify practices relating to the anus and rectum in particular. The word proctology is derived from the Greek words πρωκτός proktos, meaning "anus" or "hindparts", and -λογία -logia, meaning "science" or "study".
Physicians specializing in this field of medicine are called colorectal surgeons or proctologists. In the United States, to become colorectal surgeons, surgical doctors have to complete a general surgery residency as well as a colorectal surgery fellowship, upon which they are eligible to be certified in their field of expertise by the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery or the American Osteopathic Board of Proctology. In other countries, certification to practice proctology is given to surgeons at the end of a 2–3 year subspecialty residency by the country's board of surgery.Digestive system surgery
Digestive system surgery, or gastrointestinal surgery, can be divided into upper GI surgery and lower GI surgery.Distal splenorenal shunt procedure
In medicine, a distal splenorenal shunt procedure (DSRS), also splenorenal shunt procedure and Warren shunt, is a surgical procedure in which the distal splenic vein (a part of the portal venous system) is attached to the left renal vein (a part of the systemic venous system). It is used to treat portal hypertension and its main complication (esophageal varices). It was developed by W. Dean Warren.Epidural abscess
An epidural abscess refers to a collection of pus and infectious material located in the epidural space of the central nervous system. Due to its location adjacent to brain or spinal cord, epidural abscesses have the potential to cause weakness, pain, and paralysis.Fellowship (medicine)
A Fellowship is the period of medical training, in the United States and Canada, that a physician or dentist may undertake after completing a specialty training program (residency). During this time (usually more than one year), the physician is known as a Fellow. Fellows are capable of acting as an Attending Physician or a Consultant Physician in the generalist field in which they were trained, such as Internal Medicine or Pediatrics. After completing a Fellowship in the relevant sub-specialty, the Physician is permitted to practice without direct supervision by other physicians in that sub-specialty, such as Cardiology or Oncology.Hand surgery
Hand surgery deals with both surgical and non-surgical treatment of conditions and problems that may take place in the hand or upper extremity (commonly from the tip of the hand to the shoulder) including injury and infection. Hand surgery may be practiced by graduates of general surgery, orthopedic surgery and plastic surgery. Chiroplasty, or cheiroplasty, is plastic surgery of the hands.Plastic surgeons and orthopedic surgeons receive significant training in hand surgery during their residency training, with some graduates going on to do an additional one-year hand fellowship. Board certified general, plastic, or orthopedics surgeons who have completed approved fellowship training in hand surgery and have met a number of other practice requirements are qualified to take the "Certificate of Added Qualifications in Surgery of the Hand" examination, formerly known as the CAQSH, it is now known as the SOTH." Regardless of their original field of training, once candidates have completed an approved fellowship in hand surgery, all hand surgeons have received training in treating all injuries both to the bones and soft tissues of the hand and upper extremity. Among those without additional hand training, Plastic surgeons have usually received training to handle traumatic hand and digit amputations that require a "replant" operation. Orthopedic surgeons are trained to reconstruct all aspects to salvage the appendage: tendons, muscle, bone. Orthopedic surgeons are trained to handle complex fractures of the hand and injuries to the carpal bones that alter the mechanics of the wrist.List of Holby City characters
Holby City is a medical drama television series that airs on BBC One in the United Kingdom. The series was created by Tony McHale and Mal Young as a spin-off from the established BBC medical drama Casualty. The series follows the professional and personal lives of medical and ancillary staff at Holby City Hospital. It features an ensemble cast of regular characters, and began with 11 main characters in its first series, all of whom have since left the show. New main characters have been both written in and out of the series since, with a core of 10 to 20 main actors employed on the show at any given time.Roux-en-Y anastomosis
In general surgery, a Roux-en-Y anastomosis, or Roux-en-Y, is an end-to-side surgical anastomosis of bowel used to reconstruct the gastrointestinal tract. Typically, it is between stomach and small bowel that is distal (or further down the gastrointestinal tract) from the cut end.Specialty (medicine)
A medical speciality is a branch of medical practice that is focused on a defined group of patients, diseases, skills, or philosophy. Examples include children (paediatrics), cancer (oncology), laboratory medicine (pathology), or primary care (family medicine). After completing medical school, physicians or surgeons usually further their medical education in a specific specialty of medicine by completing a multiple-year residency to become a medical specialist.Trauma surgery
Trauma surgery is a surgical specialty that utilizes both operative and non-operative management to treat traumatic injuries, typically in an acute setting. Trauma surgeons generally complete residency training in General Surgery and often fellowship training in trauma or surgical critical care. The trauma surgeon is responsible for initially resuscitating and stabilizing and later evaluating and managing the patient. The attending trauma surgeon also leads the trauma team, which typically includes nurses and support staff as well as resident physicians in teaching hospitals.Urology
Urology (from Greek οὖρον ouron "urine" and -λογία -logia "study of"), also known as genitourinary surgery, is the branch of medicine that focuses on surgical and medical diseases of the male and female urinary-tract system and the male reproductive organs. Organs under the domain of urology include the kidneys, adrenal glands, ureters, urinary bladder, urethra, and the male reproductive organs (testes, epididymis, vas deferens, seminal vesicles, prostate, and penis).
The urinary and reproductive tracts are closely linked, and disorders of one often affect the other. Thus a major spectrum of the conditions managed in urology exists under the domain of genitourinary disorders. Urology combines the management of medical (i.e., non-surgical) conditions, such as urinary-tract infections and benign prostatic hyperplasia, with the management of surgical conditions such as bladder or prostate cancer, kidney stones, congenital abnormalities, traumatic injury, and stress incontinence.
Urological techniques include minimally invasive robotic and laparoscopic surgery, laser-assisted surgeries, and other scope-guided procedures. Urologists receive training in open and minimally invasive surgical techniques, employing real-time ultrasound guidance, fiber-optic endoscopic equipment, and various lasers in the treatment of multiple benign and malignant conditions.
Urology is closely related to (and urologists often collaborate with the practitioners of) oncology, nephrology, gynaecology, andrology, pediatric surgery, colorectal surgery, gastroenterology, and endocrinology.
Urology is one of the most competitive and highly sought surgical specialties for physicians, with new urologists comprising less than 1.5% of United States medical-school graduates each year.Urologic surgeons, or urologists, undergo a post-graduate surgical training period for a minimum of five years, of which 12 months must be completed in general surgery and 36 months must be completed in clinical urology. The remaining 12 months are spent in general surgery, urology, or other clinical disciplines relevant to urology. Upon successful completion of a residency program, many urologists choose to undergo further advanced training in a subspecialty area of expertise through a fellowship lasting an additional 12 to 36 months. Subspecialties may include: urologic surgery, urologic oncology and urologic oncological surgery, endourology and endourologic surgery, urogynecology and urogynecologic surgery, reconstructive urologic surgery (a form of reconstructive surgery), minimally invasive urologic surgery, pediatric urology and pediatric urologic surgery (including adolescent urology, the treatment of premature or delayed puberty, and the treatment of congenital urological syndromes, malformations, and deformations), transplant urology (the field of transplant medicine and surgery concerned with transplantation of organs such as the kidneys, bladder tissue, ureters, and, recently, penises), voiding dysfunction, neurourology, and androurology and sexual medicine. Additionally, some urologists supplement their fellowships with a master's degree (2–3 years) or with a Ph.D. (4–6 years) in related topics to prepare them for academic as well as focused clinical employment.