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What is General Surgery?

The scope of general surgery

General surgery is a discipline that requires knowledge of and familiarity with a broad spectrum of diseases that may require surgical treatment. By necessity, the breadth and depth of this knowledge will vary by disease category. In most areas, the surgeon will be expected to be competent in diagnosing and treating the full spectrum of disease. However, there are some types of disease in which comprehensive knowledge and experience are not generally gained in the course of a standard surgical residency. In these areas, the surgeon will be able to recognize and treat a select group of conditions within a disease category.

imageThe required residency experience for initial certification in general surgery

Residency training in general surgery requires experience in all of the following content areas:

  • Alimentary Tract (including Bariatric Surgery)
  • Abdomen and its Contents
  • Breast, Skin and Soft Tissue
  • Endocrine System
  • Breast, Skin and Soft Tissue
  • Solid Organ Transplantation
  • Pediatric Surgery
  • Surgical Critical Care
  • Surgical Oncology (including Head and Neck Surgery)
  • Trauma/Burns and Emergency Surgery
  • Vascular Surgery

General surgery as a field comprises, but is not limited to, the performance of operations and procedures (including endoscopies) relevant to the content areas listed above.
The certified general surgeon will have experience during training that will allow for diagnosis and management of a select group of conditions in these areas. However, comprehensive knowledge and management of conditions in these areas generally requires additional training.

  • Bariatric Surgery
  • Solid Organ Transplantation
  • Pediatric Surgery
  • Thoracic Surgery
  • Vascular Surgery

The above paragraphs were taken from the website of the American Board of Surgery. In reality, with the rare exceptions of certain rural areas, surgeons do not practice the entire scope of general surgery after they go to practice. Today it is impossible to keep up with the rapid growth of scientific knowledge in all fields of surgery. With the exponential growth of knowledge in all areas of surgery further subspecialization is taking place today and young surgeons graduating from residency programs often choose to do 1-3 year long fellowships in various subspecialties and they become experts in a more narrow subspecialty where they will focus their practice in the future. Examples for these fellowships include:

  • Minimally invasive surgery (MIS)
  • Colorectal surgery
  • Breast surgery
  • Hepatobiliary surgery
  • Endocrine surgery
  • Plastic surgery

Dr. Sandor, in addition to completing his general surgical residency at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, also completed a fellowship in minimally invasive surgery and bariatric surgery.

The Commonwealth Weight Loss Center offers a full range of general surgery services in addition to weight loss surgery and comprehensive weight management. We typically see patients with gallbladder problems, various forms of hernias, gastrointestinal surgical problems such as intestinal cancer, diverticulosis and diverticulitis, soft tissue masses, splenic and adrenal problems, heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux, hiatal hernias.
Dr. Sandor is specialized in advanced laparoscopic surgery and most of the operations he performs are done with the laparoscopic technique.

What is laparoscopic surgery?