General surgery is a surgical specialty that focuses on abdominal contents including esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, appendix and bile ducts, and often the thyroid gland (depending on local referral patterns). They also deal with diseases involving the skin, breast, soft tissue, trauma, peripheral Peripheral vascular disease disease and hernias and perform endoscopic procedures such as gastroscopy and colonoscopy.
This is a relatively new specialty dealing with minimal access techniques using cameras and small instruments inserted through 3 to 15mm incisions. Robotic surgery is now evolving from this concept (see below). Gallbladders, appendices, and colons can all be removed with this technique. Hernias are also able to be repaired laparoscopically. Bariatric surgery can be performed laparoscopically and there a benefits of doing so to reduce wound complications in obese patients. General surgeons that are trained today are expected to be proficient in laparoscopic procedures.
General surgeons treat a wide variety of major and minor colon and rectal diseases including inflammatory bowel diseases (such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn's disease), diverticulitis, colon and rectal cancer, gastrointestinal bleeding and hemorrhoids.
General surgeons perform a majority of all non-cosmetic breast surgery from lumpectomy to mastectomy, especially pertaining to the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.
General surgeons are trained to remove all or part of the thyroid and parathyroid glands in the neck and the adrenal glands just above each kidney in the abdomen. In many communities, they are the only surgeon trained to do this. In communities that have a number of subspecialists, other subspecialty surgeons may assume responsibility for these procedures.