General surgeons in our specialist hospitals employ a wide range of knowledge and skills to perform surgery,often in emergency situations. There is frequently an emphasis on acuteabdominal problems.
Nature of the work
General surgery encompasses a broad range of surgery which includes:
- surgical conditions of the gastrointestinal tract from the oesophagus to the anus
- breast conditions
- kidney, pancreas and liver transplantation
- trauma to the abdomen and thorax
- certain skin conditions
- initial assessment of patients with peripheral vascular disease
- general surgery of childhood
- elective surgery is also an important part of the work
Laparoscopic or minimally invasive surgery (also known as keyhole surgery) is now widely used within general surgery. These techniques are also popular with patients as there is less scarring, a shorter recovery time and improved outcomes. Most abdominal operations including bowel tumour removal and hernia repair can now be carried out laparoscopically. Some general surgeons choose to specialise in laparoscopic surgery.
Sub-specialties within general surgery include:
- breast surgery – assessment of breast symptoms, breast reconstructive surgery where a plastic surgeon is not needed
- lower gastrointestinal surgery – for the diseases of the colon, rectum and anal canal
- endocrine surgery – for thyroid and other endocrine glands
- upper gastrointestinal – this includes the oesophagus, stomach, liver and pancreas and also incorporates weight-loss surgery
- transplant surgery – renal (kidney), hepatic (liver) and pancreatic transplantations
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