A general surgeon is a physician who has completed additional training in an accredited residency program to learn the specialized skills of a surgeon. After residency training, surgeons may apply for specialty certification from the American Board of Surgery. All board-certified surgeons have satisfactorily completed an approved residency training program and have passed a rigorous specialty examination.
The letters F.A.C.S. (Fellow of the American College of Surgeons) after a surgeon’s name are a further indication of a physician’s qualifications. Surgeons who become Fellows of the College have passed a comprehensive evaluation of their surgical training and skills and they also have demonstrated their commitment to high standards of ethical conduct. This evaluation is conducted according to national standards that were established to ensure that patients receive the best possible surgical care.
General surgeons are trained in the comprehensive management of the following surgical diseases. Comprehensive management includes diagnosis, preoperative evaluation, surgery and postoperative care.
- the alimentary tract (esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine)
- the biliary system (gallbladder and bile ducts)
- the abdomen (appendicitis, hernia)
- breast (including cancer)
- anus and rectum (such as fissures, hemorrhoids, bleeding)
- skin · trauma · lymphatic system (lymph nodes and spleen)
General surgeons are also trained in endoscopy of the upper (stomach) and lower (colon) alimentary tract.