What Is A General Surgeon?

Hey. What’s up, you guys? Thank you for watching this video! I’m driving with no hands. Yes, that’s correct. But my car basically drives by itself.

In this video, I wanna talk about what exactly is a general surgeon because I get this question all the time. And I’m sure- It’s a reasonable question because general surgeon. It sounds pretty vague to me. Are you even a surgeon? Do you even know anything about medicine, or is that a joke title? Let me tell you, first, a little bit about surgery and medicine and stuff and the specialties.

Back in the day, really, you just had a doctor, right? The doctor wasn’t specialized in anything. He was just- That was his specialty. He was a doctor, and he was specialized in humans, okay? And then, of course, there was barbers, which were different. And they were, essentially, the barbers evolved into surgeons. They were one and the same for a while for whatever reason. It’s kind of weird.

You had this surgeon, you had a doctor. And the surgeon did everything. It was a general surgeon. He did general- the entire body. But as we became more familiar and we had more information about each organ system, then surgeons started to specialize in different systems. So there became a neurosurgeon for the brain, and there became a cardiac surgeon for the heart. And there became a thoracic surgeon for the chest and a vascular surgeon for the blood vessels, okay?

As each one of those surgeons starts peeling off its own specialty and there becomes more and more information to understand and know and be able to comprehend to operate and keep up with all of the information and make sure that you do the best kind of practices in each specialty, then it becomes more and more unlikely that one person can do all of those things.

The general surgeon is what’s left of the old-time surgeon who did everything.

He doesn’t generally do heart, he doesn’t do lungs, he doesn’t do neurosurgery, brain surgery, blood vessels, and stuff like that. The general surgeon- It’s kind of weird because there’s different types of general surgeons also. I’ll explain to you why that is. The general surgeon will do mostly abdominal surgery. Some guys do chest surgery. Some people do necks. They like thyroid, parathyroid. Some do endocrine, pancreas, adrenals. Some do breast, so a general surgeon may do breast surgery. That’s a big part of general surgery as well, and then what we call the lumps, the mumps, or things underneath the skin in the soft tissue. A lot of the general surgeons do that as well.

Let me tell you a little bit about residency. General surgery residency is about five years, and what you do in general surgery is you rotate through different surgical specialties. So for instance, my first year, my intern year, I did, like, two months of trauma surgery. I did, like, one month of colorectal surgery. I did one month of- or maybe two months of plastic surgery. I did…Geez, what else? I did four months of trauma. I did, like, a month of- or two months of endocrine surgery, which would be thyroid, parathyroid, adrenals, things like that.

The second year- Oh yeah, I also did critical care. So we did, like, two months of critical care. Another phone call! (Bleep)!

Dr. Parker. Hello. Dr. Parker.

Man: Hey, Buck, it’s (bleep). How are you?

Buck: Yeah, good. What’s up?

Man: Hey. I got this (unintelligible). You got rib fractures.

Buck: Yes.

Man: (Unintelligible). You just want that, right?

Buck: Yes, correct.

Man: Awesome. I’m putting it in now.

Buck: Thank you so much.

Man: Thanks, man. Yeah.

Buck: Bye.

Man: Bye.

Yeah, so during the first year, we had to do critical care. We did that for, like, two months. My second year, I did cardiac surgery, cardiac critical care, transplant surgery, more trauma surgery. So you see how each year you do different types of surgery.

The general surgeon gets exposed to a lot of different types of surgery. In, for instance, cardiac surgery or transplant surgery. But you don’t end up doing that as your specialty in everyday. What you do a lot as general surgeons, depending on what kind of experience you get as a resident and what you feel comfortable with and what kind of experience you then have out in the community or what type of practice- who you’re joining- other general surgeons, you may pick up different types of surgery.

For instance, in my residency, we had lots of trauma. And we had a lot of emergency surgery.

I went and did private practice for a little while, and it was mostly elective hernias and gallbladders and things like that. And although we did a lot of those, we didn’t do a lot of elective surgery.

I was more comfortable with the emergency surgery stuff than honestly the elective surgery. And I did a limited amount of breast surgery, so now I really- It’s not one of my favorites. I didn’t have a lot of- a big experience. So I didn’t feel that comfortable doing a lot of breast surgery unless I had somebody to continue to teach me outside of residency, and sometimes that happens too. You may- You do your general surgery residency, you join a practice, there’s guys that are different. Or surgeons, I say guys, there’s lots of women too, obviously. But there’s people that can teach you different techniques in surgeries once you’re out of residency as well. And as long as you have somebody that confident with, you do this, you get enough of the operations in, and then you can do it by yourself without somebody else helping you.

So not necessarily every general surgeon is gonna do every general surgery operation. Does that make sense? So basically, there’s a lot of different types of general surgeons. But for the majority of general surgeons-

Another (bleep)ing phone call!

Dr. Parker. Dr. Parker!

Woman: Hi, Dr. Parker. This is (bleep). So the x-ray was done. I don’t know what the radiology has read. The tech seemed to think it was in there, but he is stacking on the tubing that’s in his (unintelligible).

Buck: All right. Just-

Woman: (Unintelligible) in his mouth.

Buck: Okay. Forget it. Just pull it out. Fine. Whatever. Just pull it. Pull it out.

Woman: I just go ahead and pull it out?

Buck: Pull it out.

Woman: Okay. All right. Thank you!

Buck: Okay.

Woman. All right. Bye.

Buck: Bye.

So there are a lot of different types of general surgeons, I guess, is what you’re saying. But for the majority, let’s say the majority of general surgeons in a smaller community, which is not a university hospital, they will do hernias. Ingrown hernias, abdominal hernias, gallbladders, appendix, small bowel obstruction, colon surgeries for colon cancer and diverticulitis and diverticulosis.

A lot of people do the nasophageal wraps called nisiphinpluncation (7:46). That’s for reflux disease. A lot of guys do that. And then you’ll have some people that do a lot of breast as well, so that’s the main mix. Oh, and the soft tissue stuff. So if you have a little lipoma or you want something taken off your skin or underneath the skin.

That’s what most general surgeons do on a daily basis, and then you have- That’s the medium-sized communities and hospitals. And then if you get into a bigger community or hospital or a university hospital, those guys typically have a different practice. And many of those people do emergency general surgery and trauma, which is also called acute care surgery. It’s termed, and that takes care of all the emergency stuff in that hospital. And then some general surgeons in there will be very specialized and only do hernias or only do breasts, but he’s still a general surgeon.

So as you can see, it’s not exactly a one-sentence answer for what is a general surgeon. But hopefully, that gives you a really good idea, and maybe if you wanna go into any of those things, then maybe you should look into becoming a general surgeon.

So that’s it for this video. I hope you guys like it. If you do, you should share these videos with your friends that might be interested in becoming a general surgeon or interested in knowing what a general surgeon is. And like the video, and then do the subscribe thingy. And then I will be your friend.

All right. See you in the next one.

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