Shadowing a DoctorApril 4, 2014
General Surgery – Specialty & Sub-Specialty Information
General surgeons are trained to manage and treat a broad spectrum of diseases and injuries that require surgical intervention irrespective of which part of the body has been affected. General surgeons have a central core of knowledge common to all surgical specialties, from anatomy, physiology, pathology, immunology, metabolism and nutrition to wound healing, resuscitation, neoplasia and intensive care.
General surgeons provide preoperative, operative and postoperative care of the surgical patient, and they are also trained to provide comprehensive management of trauma and complete care of critically ill patients with underlying surgical conditions. Surgeons use a variety of diagnostic techniques, including endoscopy, for observing internal structures. They undergo training in using specialised instruments for various operative procedures. Although its scope is quite broad, general surgery usually involves the surgery of the abdomen, peripheral vasculature, skin, and neck. General surgeons rarely perform orthopaedic, neurologic, urologic or thoracic procedures. However, they are usually familiar with other surgical specialties so they can refer their patient to other specialists when necessary. Excellent manual dexterity and the ability to make split second decisions quickly and decisively are necessary attributes for this specialty.
Subspecialties of General Surgery
Vascular Surgery, General Surgery
Surgical Critical Care, General Surgery
Hand Surgery, General Surgery
Paediatric Surgery, General Surgery
Vascular Surgery – Vascular surgery is a subspecialty within general surgery that addresses the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the vascular system, which includes the arteries, veins, and lymphatic vessels except for those within the heart and the cranial cavity. The main diseases that vascular surgery deals with involve those affecting the aorta, carotid arteries and the arteries supplying blood to the lower extremities, the kidneys, and the abdomen. Common procedures performed include revascularization of the lower extremities, repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm and carotid endarterectomy. Vascular surgeons train in performing and interpreting various diagnostic studies such as angiography and ultrasound.
Surgical Critical Care – A critical care surgeon is trained in critical care medicine diagnoses and specialises in the management of critically ill and postoperative patients, particularly trauma victims. These surgeons treat and support patients with multiple organ dysfunction. They may have administrative responsibilities for intensive care units and may also facilitate and coordinate patient care among the primary physician, the critical care staff and other specialists.
Paediatric Surgery- Paediatric surgeons provide surgical care to children from newborn stage through the teenage years for any problem or condition that require surgery. Paediatric surgeons are trained in the diagnoses, operative and postoperative management of surgical issues in children of all ages. Paediatric surgeons work together with the other physicians such as paediatricians, neonatologists or family physicians who are involved in the child’s non-surgical, medical care, to determine whether surgery is the best option for the child.
Hand Surgery – This is a subspecialty of general surgery, orthopaedic surgery or plastic surgery. Hand surgery physicians specialise in preserving and restoring all structures that directly affect the structure and function of the hand and wrist. They are trained to employ various medical, surgical and rehabilitative techniques.