General surgery is a surgical specialty that broad in its scope, focusing on both the diagnosis and surgical treatment of many different medical conditions. By nature of the specialty, general surgeons are expected to be able to perform surgeries on multiple body systems.
What is it?
General surgery is a surgical specialty that is broad in its scope, focusing on both the diagnosis and surgical treatment of many different medical conditions. By nature of the specialty, general surgeons are expected to be able to perform surgeries on multiple body systems. A general surgeon may have specialized knowledge and experience related to the diagnosis, preoperative, operative, and postoperative management, including the management of complications.
What are the subspecialties?
General Surgery covers a wide array of specializations and subspecialties. Some of the subspecialties of general surgery include, but are not limited to, vascular surgery, biliary surgery, bariatric surgery, minimally invasive surgery, and abdominal transplant surgery. When a patient is in need of an organ transplant, it will most likely be a general surgeon performing the procedure.
What are the commonly associated medical diseases or symptoms?
There are many different conditions associated with the abdomen and digestive system. Some of the most commonly seen cases are acute pancreatitis, appendicitis, bowel obstructions, Crohn’s Disease, and gallstones. Gallstones can range in size and are solid particles that can potentially block the bile duct, causing stomach pains and discomfort. If this condition is left untreated, the patient can become septic and potentially die.
What are the commonly associated medical procedures?
As medical technology advances, certain general surgeries are becoming less invasive and focusing more on laparoscopic procedures. A few of the most common procedures performed by a general surgeon are laparoscopic hernia repair, endoscopies, liver resections, appendectomies, and Whipple procedures. During a Whipple procedure, the surgeon removes infected parts of the pancreas, duodenum, common bile duct, and sometimes parts of the stomach. A Whipple procedure is commonly performed to treat cancers of these areas.
Are there any preventative measures I can take?
Since many general surgery procedures are required due to complications with the digestive system, it is of great importance to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. Avoiding substance abuse, tobacco use, and limiting alcohol intake can help in maintaining liver and kidney health. Low-fat diets help prevent gallstones and biliary disease.
What are the common misconceptions about this specialty?
A common misconception about general surgery is that this encompasses all procedures. A general surgeon does not have the training and certifications to perform all surgeries. Similar to other surgeons, if they are not comfortable with the case they are presented with, the general surgeon will refer the patient to another surgeon who might be more equipped or trained to handle the patient’s specific condition.
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