General surgery, despite the name, is actually a surgical specialty. General surgeons not only perform surgeries for a wide range of common ailments, but are also responsible for patient care before, during, and after surgery. All surgeons must start their training in general surgery; many then go on to focus on another specialty.
What Is Included in General Surgery?
According to the American Board of Surgery,2 general surgeons are trained to operate on the :
Alimentary tract (esophagus and related organs)
Abdomen and its contents
Breast, skin, and soft tissue
In addition, general surgeons are expected to have knowledge and experience in:
Surgical critical care
Despite the term "general", surgeons that practice general surgery are highly skilled surgeons that typically operate on common abdominal complaints including appendicitis, hernias, gallbladder surgeries, stomach, and intestinal issues.4 This focus on the abdomen is not absolute, as general surgeons may specialize in a type of surgery, such as treating cancer or burns, that requires the surgeon to be able to perform procedures on multiple areas of the body.