Everyone is familiar with the term “surgeon.” However, the title “general surgeon” might have you wondering exactly what differentiates one specialist from another.
Basically, general surgeons are physicians who are specially trained to diagnose and manage an extensive range of diseases and disorders that may require surgical treatment. In fact, they are qualified to perform surgery on practically any part of the body, but typically focus on treating diseases and injuries of the head and neck, the endocrine system (including the pancreas and thyroid gland), breasts, the entire digestive tract, the abdominal organs, and the skin and soft tissues.
However, in rural areas like southwestern Iowa, where surgery specialists may not be readily available, general surgeons perform an even wider array of procedures. If a hospital doesn’t have a surgical oncologist on staff, for example, a general surgeon may be called upon to perform cancer surgeries.
To attain the status of a general surgeon, one must complete four years of medical school and an additional five years of residency in general surgery. From there, some general surgeons choose to complete two or more years of training to specialize in areas such as surgical critical care, pediatric surgery, bariatric surgery, minimally invasive surgery, or end-of-life care to become board-certified.
Common Surgeries Performed By A General Surgeon
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the common procedures a general surgeon performs.
Appendectomy – the removal of an inflamed appendix.
An appendectomy is a surgery to remove the appendix. Your appendix is a small pouch connected to your large intestine. An appendectomy cures appendicitis, which is an infection or inflammation of the appendix. Doctors also perform this surgery for tumors of the appendix.
Breast surgery, which includes:
- Breast biopsies to remove a small sample of breast tissue to see if cancer is present.
- Lumpectomy to remove a tumor from the breast, also known as a partial mastectomy, wide excision, or breast-conserving surgery.
- Mastectomy – the surgical removal of one or both breasts.
Colon and rectal surgery is performed to treat a wide variety of conditions, including bowel obstruction, cancer, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, and hemorrhoids. Common colon and rectal surgeries include:
- Colectomy (colon and bowel resection)
- Colostomy to connect the colon to an external opening in the abdomen.
- Hemorrhoidectomy to remove hemorrhoids that are swollen or inflamed.
Esophageal surgery to treat conditions affecting the tube running from the mouth to the stomach. Common esophageal surgeries include:
- Acid reflux surgery
- Esophagectomy is to remove all or part of a cancerous or precancerous esophagus.
- Excision of an esophageal lesion to remove a growth or suspicious portion of the esophagus.
Gastroenterology procedures, such as:
- Upper GI endoscopy to see the inside of the upper GI tract.
- Gastric bypass surgery treats morbid obesity by making the stomach smaller or altering its anatomy.
- Liver biopsy
A variety of other procedures, such as:
- Gallbladder removal
- Hernia repair
- Varicose vein removal through one or more small incisions.
- Enlarged spleen removal of an enlarged spleen, which could burst and cause internal bleeding.
- Partial or complete thyroid removal when the gland becomes enlarged, making it hard to breathe or swallow, or when the thyroid is overactive, making too much of a certain hormone.
- Wound repair in the form of stitches, skin grafts, or debridement (the removal of dead tissue) helps in healing and improving the appearance of the wound after it heals.
General Surgeon in Mount Ayr, Iowa
At Ringgold County Hospital (RCH), our board-certified general surgeons and other healthcare providers are dedicated to helping area residents and visitors get and stay healthy, so they can live their best possible lives.
Located in rural southwestern Iowa, we offer convenient medical care that is close to home while maintaining the quality of care and a wide variety of modern, innovative treatments you expect from a big-city hospital.
To learn more about RCH and the services we offer, call us today at (641) 464-3226.