What is a Surgeon?

Surgery is a broad category of invasive medical treatment that involves the cutting of a body, whether that of a human or an animal. A surgeon is a physician who cuts the human body for the purpose of removing diseased tissue or organs, to repair body systems, or to replace diseased organs with transplants.

Surgeons can be general surgeons and perform all types of surgery, or they can be specialized, such as heart surgeons or bariatric surgeons. Surgeons may be physicians, dentists, podiatrists or veterinarians.

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What does a Surgeon do?

Surgeons operate on the human body in the event of illness, injury, or disease. Sometimes surgeries are performed to correct problems in the body or to explore a cause of internal bleeding. Surgeons can perform any number of different surgical procedures on the body.

Surgery involves the cutting into the body to repair, replace, or diagnose disease. Surgeons carry out the procedures and are in charge of all aspects of the surgery process. They oversee the surgical technicians and they assistant in the operating room to be sure that all standards of care and safety are followed.

Surgeons perform invasive surgeries and minimally invasive procedures. They perform surgeries that last minutes or hours. Some surgical procedures are quite extensive and tedious, while others are small procedures that require little surgery procedure.

Areas that surgeons can work in include:

  • Cardiac
  • Upper GI
  • Plastic
  • Pediatric
  • Podiatric
  • Oncology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Thoracic

Surgeons who specialize in a particular area of study perform only that type of surgery. A specialist often has many years of experience performing a certain type of surgery and they choose to limit their career to that particular type.

What does it take to be a Surgeon?

To become a surgeon, one must first become a medical doctor. This begins by entering a pre-med college for a four-year course of study. The individual must then enter medical school which lasts four years. Medical school exposes the individual to studies of the human body through disease and injury. They learn all of the components of medical care. After the four years, a student enters a residency program where they study first-hand to be a doctor in all types of medical fields. This normally lasts from 5-7 years and allows the resident to become acquainted with the many types of specialization in the medical field. After the residency program, the resident can apply to be licensed as a medical doctor.

Fellowships continue the education of the doctor and further education allows the doctor to become a surgeon and become licensed to perform surgeries in their given country or state. Most doctors choose to fellowship in the specialized area that they intend to become a part of. A doctor who plans to become a thoracic specialist may fellowship with an orthopedist in a orthopedic clinic. A doctor who wants to be a podiatrist surgeon would fellowship in a podiatrist office. This time of specialized fellowship allows the doctor to make a decision on his final area of study to become certified as a surgeon.

Surgeons are on their feet for many hours at a time. A day often begins very early in the morning as surgeons perform surgeries. They may have rounds that are performed in the evening where they go around and check on their patients.

Emergency surgeries do happen, so surgeons are often on call even on their scheduled days off. The life of surgeons is often very tiring with little personal time. Surgeons often forgo their own personal and family life for the satisfaction of helping their patients.

What is the workplace of a Surgeon like?

The workplace of surgeons is primarily in the operating room. They also meet with patients in an office and in their hospital rooms as well. The operating room can be a dangerous place, so it is important that the surgeons fully understand all of the aspects of the tools used when performing surgery. Since human life is at risk, they must be alert and on guard at all times. Surgeons must be prepared for all types of emergency situations and able to carry out lifesaving initiatives at any time during an operation.

Surgeons work with all types of tools, from scalpels to calipers. They have various types of tools available to them to perform surgeries on patients. This job also requires that the surgeons oversee the administration of medications as needed throughout the surgery. A surgeon must be knowledgeable of the various types of medications used and the potential reactions when he or she operates on a patient.

How much does a Surgeon earn?

The salary of surgeons can vary greatly depending on the country that one is working in and the state. In the United States, the median salary for surgeons is around $300,000. Most starting off in this career earn around $235,000 per year. Specialists can make up to $500,000, depending on their experience, education, and specialty. More years of experience in their specialty field means a higher salary. Teaching surgeons can make even more money.

Surgeons are paid well for what they do. The pay of a surgeon compensates them for their long years of education, and the stress and hard work that they must endure in their daily work.

Learn more about being a Surgeon