A general surgeon is a medical doctor whose surgical speciality focuses on abdominal contents including the oesophagus, stomach, small bowel, colon, liver, pancreas, gallbladder and bile ducts, and often the thyroid gland. General surgeons are extensively educated and trained in the diagnosis and preoperative, operative, and postoperative management of patient care. Surgery requires knowledge of anatomy, emergency and intensive care, immunology, metabolism, nutrition, pathology, physiology, shock, and resuscitation, as well as wound healing. General surgeons may specialise in a variety of different areas including urology, cardiothoracic, vascular, colon and rectal, and gynaecologic or oncology, among others.
When would I need a general surgeon?
‘You may need a general surgeon if you have been diagnosed with any number of conditions or illness, or if you are in need of emergency, critical care. If you need to have your gallbladder, appendix or colon removed then you will need to see a general surgeon, who remove such organs using a technique called laparoscopic surgeon. Similarly, if you have a major or minor colon or rectal diseases, colon or rectal cancer, gastrointestinal bleeding, haemorrhoids, or diverticulitis, you may need to see a general surgeon. If you require non-cosmetic breast surgery such as a mastectomy, vascular surgery, abdominal organ transplant, endocrine surgery, or surgical oncology, you will also require a general surgeon.
How can a general surgeon help me?
A general surgeon can help you by performing the operation that has been agreed as part of your treatment plan, drawn up by your doctor. They will guide you through surgery and make sure that the procedure has been fully explained to you, and ensure that the operation decided on to treat your condition is the right one for you.
What should I expect when I see a general surgeon?
When you see a general surgeon you should expect to have a pre-operative assessment before any surgery is actually carried out. This will likely be an appointment with a nurse or doctor in which you will be asked questions about your health and medical history. Here you will also be given information about your impending surgery, such as to what pack and the importance of hygiene before an operation. Following this you should receive an admission letter from the hospital which will tell you the date, time and location of your operation. Before the operation you will be asked to change into a hospital gown and you will have the details of the surgery explained to you. You will then be given anaesthetic so that you will not feel pain during the operation. After the operation you will be moved to a recovery room.