General Surgery Frequently Asked Questions
What is a general surgeon?
Despite the name, a general surgeon is a highly skilled doctor who specializes in a variety of surgical procedures, including minimally invasive surgery. Though they may go on to specialize further in one area of the body, all surgeons start out in general surgery and require rigorous training to know:
- How wounds heal
- How to treat blood clots
- How the immune system works
- How a healthy body functions
- How to identify and treat infections
General surgeons are also trained to operate on various parts of the body, including:
- The esophagus and related organs
- The abdomen, stomach organs, and intestines
- The skin, breast, and soft tissues
- The endocrine system
General surgeons treat a broad range of conditions, including:
- Hernias — often the result of heavy lifting or prolonged strain, internal tissues or organs protrude through weak areas of muscle
- Varicose veins — occur when blood pools in a vein due to weakened valves, giving the veins an enlarged or twisted appearance
- Gastrointestinal diseases — includes appendicitis, ulcers, gastritis, and more
- Certain cancers — includes breast cancer, endocrine cancer, and gastrointestinal cancers
- Abdominal pain — can result from infections, inflammatory conditions, blockages, tumors, and more
To find out if a general surgeon near you treats your condition, we recommend contacting the hospital or clinic where they provide care.
General surgeons are trained in a variety of procedures, including:
- Appendectomy — surgery to remove the appendix due to inflammation or infection
- Colectomy — surgery to remove portions of the bowel, either for repair or cancer
- Esophagectomy – surgery used to repair or remove portions of the esophagus
- Gall Bladder Removal — provides relief to people suffering from gallstones
- Gastrectomy — used to provide relief to people suffering from stomach issues
- Hernia repair — surgery to treat bulges and repair tears in weakened muscle
- Mastectomy — removal of one or both breasts, often used to treat breast cancer
- Thyroid Gland removal — often used to remove tumors on the Thyroid gland
- Wound repair — surgery to repair tissue and treat major wounds
- Varicose vein removal — surgery to remove enlarged veins where blood pools
To learn the complete list of procedures a general surgeon performs near you, we recommend contacting the hospital or clinic where they provide care.
There are many situations where you might go to a general surgeon, including elective surgeries, medical emergencies, or because other treatments for your condition haven’t worked.
Elective surgeries are typically non-life-threatening procedures that you and your surgeon schedule in advance to alleviate pain, manage a condition, and help you live more comfortably.
Medical emergencies include any procedure that needs immediate attention, such as trauma to the body, hernias, appendicitis, and more.
If your primary care physician believes that non-surgical care isn’t enough to alleviate your symptoms or improve your condition, they may refer you to a general surgeon.