Types of Surgeons
Which Field of Surgery Is Right for You?
If you are considering a career in the surgical field, you'll have to choose between a wide range of specialties. Each surgical specialty has its own training requirements, work environment and patient population. It's important to choose the specialty that is the best fit for your interests, skills and personality. Let's explore the types of surgeons and which field may be best for you as a medical student at UAG School of Medicine.
General surgery can relate to nearly any area of the body. General surgeons are often required to make diagnoses and deliver the right level of operative care, both pre, during, and post procedure. They often treat critically ill patients, as well as victims of intense trauma. They can perform many different types of surgery, and they have the ability to keep a cool head in the event of an emergency.
Cardiothoracic surgeons operate on patients with diseases of the chest, which includes the heart and lungs. These surgeries are some of the most complex and delicate operations in all of medicine. Due to the high-stakes nature of cardiac surgery, these surgeons must have excellent judgment, be able to handle intense pressure, and possess masterful technical skills.
Orthopedic surgeons operate on patients with problems of the musculoskeletal system, which includes bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. These surgeries can range from correcting a deformity to relieving chronic pain. They often work with other specialists, such as rehabilitation physicians, to ensure the best possible outcome for their patients.
Orthopedic surgery can include:
● Hand and spinal surgery
● Sports medicine
● Pediatric orthopedics
● Foot and ankle orthopedics
● Joint replacement
● Trauma surgery
Neurological surgeons operate on patients with problems of the nervous system, which includes the brain, spine, and peripheral nerves. These surgeries can be very complex, as they often involve delicate tissue and sensitive areas of the body. Small mistakes can lead to major consequences for the patient, so neurological surgeons must have excellent judgment and be able to handle high-pressure situations.
Gynecological oncologists are medical specialists who focus on cancers of the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, cervix, and vulva. These surgeons often work closely with other cancer specialists, such as medical oncologists and radiation oncologists, to develop treatment plans for their patients.
Ophthalmic surgeons operate on patients with problems of the eye and surrounding structures. These surgeries can range from correcting a vision problem to removing a cancerous tumor. Ophthalmic surgeons must have excellent visual acuity and hand-eye coordination, as well as the ability to work in small spaces.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons operate on patients with problems of the mouth, teeth, and facial structures. These surgeries can range from correcting a dental problem to extracting wisdom teeth to performing dental implant surgery. You may also become certified to provide anesthesia, as well as provide your care in a dental office as opposed to a hospital.
Otolaryngological surgeons, also known as ENT (ear, nose, and throat) surgeons, operate on patients with problems of the ear, nose, and throat. They must receive training in audiology, the chemical senses, speech-language pathology, and allergy, endocrinology, and neurology as it relates to their areas of focus. They can treat ailments like laryngeal diseases and sinus diseases.
Pediatric surgeons operate on patients from birth to adolescence. They must be able to treat a wide range of problems, including congenital defects, trauma, and tumors. They often work closely with other pediatric specialists, to determine the best course of treatment for their young patients.
Plastic surgeons operate on patients to repair or replace structures of the body that have been damaged by trauma, disease, or congenital defects. They can also perform cosmetic procedures for patients wishing to improve their appearance. Plastic surgeons must have excellent judgment and manual dexterity, as well as an eye for aesthetics.
Urological surgeons operate on patients with disorders of the adrenal gland and of the genitourinary system. They must become experts in the reproductive system, as well as the urinary tract and the surrounding areas. They can operate on patients of all genders.
Vascular surgeons operate on patients with problems of the vascular system, which includes the arteries and veins. These surgeries can be complex, as they often involve delicate tissue and sensitive areas of the body. This requires excellent manual dexterity, concentration, and attention to detail.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Field of Surgery
Now that you know more about the different types of surgeons, you might be wondering how to choose the right path for you. Here are some factors to consider:
- Your interests and strengths: What do you like doing? What comes naturally to you? Consider your personality and strengths when choosing a field of surgery.
- Your medical school training: What type of residency will you be completing? Some fields of surgery require additional training beyond a general surgery residency.
- Your lifestyle: Some fields of surgery are more demanding than others. Consider your lifestyle and whether you are willing to make sacrifices in order to pursue your chosen field.
- The job market: Some fields of surgery are more competitive than others. Do your research to see if there is a demand for the type of surgeon you want to be.
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing a field of surgery. The most important thing is that you choose a field that you are passionate about and that you will be happy with in the long run.
Contact UAG School of Medicine Today
Whatever field of surgery interests you; we have a program at UAG School of Medicine to help you follow your dreams. Contact us today to learn more about our medical programs.