“General Surgery” is a discipline of surgery having a central core of knowledge embracing anatomy, physiology, metabolism, immunology, nutrition, pathology, wound healing, shock and resuscitation, intensive care, and neoplasia, which are common to all surgical specialties.
A general surgeon has specialized knowledge and experience related to the diagnosis, preoperative, operative, and postoperative management, including the management of complications, in nine primary components of surgery, all of which are essential to the education of a broadly based surgeon:
- Alimentary tract
- Abdomen and its contents
- Breast, skin, and soft tissue
- Head and neck, including trauma, vascular, endocrine, congenital and oncologic disorders – particularly tumors of the skin, salivary glands, thyroid, parathyroid, and the oral cavity
- Vascular system, excluding the intracranial vessels and heart
- Endocrine system, including thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal, and endocrine pancreas
- Surgical oncology, including coordinated multimodality management of the cancer patient by screening, surveillance, surgical adjunctive therapy, rehabilitation, and follow-up
- Comprehensive management of trauma, including musculoskeletal, hand, and head injuries. The responsibility for all phases of care of the injured patient is an essential component of general surgery.
- Complete care of critically ill patients with underlying surgical conditions, in the emergency room, intensive care unit, and trauma/burn units
The description of this surgical specialty was adapted from a description set forth by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).