The American Board of Surgery describes general surgery as a discipline that covers knowledge of a wide spectrum of disease, including those that may not need surgical treatment, as well as conditions that require emergency surgery and others that are elective in nature. A general surgeon is familiar with pre and postoperative management, as well as the surgical procedures.
As you’d expect, a general surgeon must demonstrate comprehensive knowledge across an expansive range of body systems as well as surgical techniques. There’s also an emphasis on team-based care for surgical patients, and requirements for particular skills and knowledge for the clinical care of certain patient groups, including the terminally ill and geriatric patients.
Among the most common surgical procedures performed in the United States are:
While in theory, the broad range of knowledge needed for general surgery certification means that a general surgeon is familiar with many types of surgery, in practice, even general surgeons tend to specialize, whether through their own personal interests or the reputations they develop for certain procedures.
For example, Dr. Heilbron often performs tumor removals, which is, in itself, a broad category of surgery, since benign and cancerous tumors take many forms and occur in many places in the body. He’s also known for his skill with cholecystectomy, more commonly known as gallbladder removal. The gallbladder can become infected, filled with gallstones, or cancerous, requiring its removal.
Dr. Heilbron also performs comparatively minor surgeries such as lipoma removal, the extraction of sometimes painful but harmless pockets of fatty tissue.
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