General surgery is the specialty that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of surgical abdominal diseases as well as other surgical conditions of other specialties requiring special techniques such as traumas, vascular, urological, thoracic, endocrine, gynecological or oncological surgery.
General surgery is always changing as it continues to reinvent itself to the benefit of the patient. Thanks to today's high-tech instrumentation and advanced technology, procedures such as major abdominal surgery or heart surgery are now replaced with minimally invasive laparoscopic techniques that often reduce pain, cost and the recuperation period without sacrificing good outcomes. Surgical research into disease processes such as immunology and genetics have redefined treatment options specific to individual patients, opening doors to better understanding the etiologies of disease and its progression.
A general surgeon is a physician specialized in evaluating and treating a variety of conditions and diseases that may require surgical treatment. They primarily operate in the torso region of the body, including the large and small intestines, stomach, esophagus, spleen, gallbladder, and liver.
Their responsibility may start with diagnosing a patient who has a condition that requires surgery by performing a physical exam and order various tests, such as an ultrasound or CT scan, in order to confirm a diagnosis. When the surgeon determines surgery is needed, he also has to decide if a patient is a good candidate for surgery. This means determining if the patient is healthy enough for surgery. Pre-operative tests, including blood work and an EKG, are often ordered to rule out health problems that may make surgery too risky to perform.
In addition to caring for patients pre-operatively and doing the actual surgery, general surgeons also monitor patients post-operatively, examining patients’ incisions, monitoring their recovery and managing any post-operative pain.
A general surgeon has specialized knowledge and experience related to the diagnosis, preoperative, operative, and postoperative management, including the management of complications, in nine primary components of surgery, all of which are essential to the education of a broadly based surgeon:
Each state has a medical board that licenses physicians and participates in disciplinary action for surgeons who have issues with their practice. Take the time to look up recommended surgeons on the website for the state medical board. Do they have a license to practice in the state where you plan to have surgery? Look for a surgeon who has undergone the necessary training, even after being in clinical practice, to maintain board certification in his or her specialty.
Here are some of the questions that you should ask the general surgeon before choosing him.