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A surgical team engaged in a procedure
GlossaryGlossary of surgery

Surgery represents a critical branch of medicine that focuses on treating diseases, injuries, and malformations through manual and instrumental techniques. Individuals who master these techniques and apply them professionally are known as surgeons.

History of Surgery

Surgery traces its roots back to the Neolithic Age (approximately 10,000 to 6,000 BC). The first surgical procedures were simple and lacked the advanced tools and detailed understanding of human anatomy that characterize modern surgical practice.

One of the earliest documented surgical procedures, trepanning or trepanation, involved creating an opening in the skull to alleviate intracranial pressure or address other neurological complications. Archaeological evidence suggests that trepanning might have been performed as early as 8,000 BC.

Surgical Specialties

Surgery is a broad discipline that spans numerous specialties, each concentrating on specific body systems or types of procedures. Here are some of the main surgical specialties:

  • General surgery: This specialty covers a wide range of surgical procedures performed on various body parts.
  • Cardiothoracic surgery: Focuses on surgical interventions involving the heart and chest.
  • Neurosurgery: Specializes in surgical procedures on the nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord.
  • Orthopedic surgery: Concerned with surgical procedures related to the musculoskeletal system.
  • Plastic surgery: Involves surgical repair or reconstruction of physical deformities or aesthetic enhancements.

Education and Training

The journey to becoming a surgeon requires extensive education and rigorous training. It generally includes earning a bachelor's degree, completing four years of medical school, and undertaking a surgical residency that can last between five to seven years, depending on the specialty. Some surgeons choose to further their expertise through fellowship training in a subspecialty.

Risks and Ethics

Surgery, like all medical procedures, carries certain risks, including infection, bleeding, and complications related to anesthesia. The potential benefits of a surgical procedure must always be weighed against these potential risks.

The surgical profession is also guided by a stringent code of ethics, which mandates surgeons to act in their patients' best interests, respect patient autonomy, and strive for justice in the distribution of health resources.

Orthopedic Surgical Procedures

Orthopedic surgery involves procedures related to the musculoskeletal system. Some of the orthopedic surgical procedures include:

Notable Surgeons

Numerous surgeons have made significant contributions to the field of surgery. Some of the most notable ones include:

Dictionaries and Glossaries

For a more comprehensive understanding of surgical terms and procedures, refer to:

Dictionary of surgery

See Also


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