General surgery, as the name suggests, is the group of surgical procedures that aim at treating ailments related to the contents of the abdominal region such as the stomach, colon, small intestine, pancreas, gall bladder, bile ducts, liver as well as the esophagus (food pipe). General surgery also often deals with disorders and diseases associated with the skin, soft tissue, breast, trauma, hernias and peripheral vascular surgery procedures.
Types of General Surgery
General surgeries are divided into different specialties depending mainly on the surgical method used as well as the type of disorder being treated. These are the different categories of general surgery:
Trauma/Critical Care Surgery – General surgery most often covers most types of traumatic and emergency surgical procedures. Specially-trained surgeons manage critical surgery and critical care as well as handling all kinds of emergency surgery procedures. This type of surgery mostly deals with critically ill or severely injured patients who often require various surgical procedures on an urgent basis. Critical care surgery is usually concerned with treatment of infections, bleeding, bowel obstruction or other similar organ perforations.
Laparoscopic Surgery – This is a comparatively modern method of surgery. This is a minimally invasive form of surgical procedure and is performed mainly through the use of a ‘laparoscope’. A laparoscope is a small and thin flexible tube which has a cold light-source and a video camera initially attached to it. Very small incisions are needed to insert this tube into the skin to view the trouble-spots inside the body without having to make large incisions. This laparoscope is also attached with a number of tiny surgical instruments that allow the surgeon to perform the required surgical operation. This is a more advantageous method than a traditional open-type surgery as it is less invasive and the recovery time and pain are also significantly reduced.
Colorectal Surgery – General surgery also covers a wide range of major and minor rectal and colon diseases including inflammatory bowel diseases, colon and rectal cancer as well as hemorrhoids and gastrointestinal bleeding.
Breast Surgery – General surgery deals with a large number of non-cosmetic breast surgeries such as mastectomy or lumpectomy. This is especially helpful in diagnosis and confirmation of breast cancer.
Vascular Surgery – Specialized training in vascular surgery is required by general surgeons to perform vascular surgical procedures in order to treat minor vascular problems.
Endocrine Surgery – General surgery includes procedures for, partial or, complete removal of thyroid and parathyroid glands from the neck as well as adrenal glands from above the kidney in the abdominal region.
Transplant Surgery – The complete aspects of an abdominal organ transplant surgery are managed by specialized and trained general surgeons. General surgery includes transplant procedures for kidney, liver, pancreas and often the small bowel as well.
Surgical Oncology – General surgery also deals with surgical diagnosis (biopsy) and treatment of thoracic cancer, gynecological cancer, etc. Surgeons are required to undergo an extensive training program to qualify for handling cancer treatments.
Cardiothoracic Surgery – General surgery also deals with the diseases and ailments afflicting the heart and the general chest area such as bypass surgery and others.
Nowadays, most of the general surgical procedures are performed using the latest minimally invasive surgical methods or the ultra-modern robot-assisted surgery due to their better efficiency and less risks associated with them.
An endoscopic surgery is a form of surgical procedure that uses minimally-invasive surgical method to perform the required surgeries.
This type of surgery uses a small and thin flexible tube called an ‘endoscope’. The endoscope is initially fitted with a cold light-source and a video camera. The surgeon will require to make very small (keyhole) incisions above the troubled spot to insert the thin endoscope which is pushed around the inner body cavity to get the best view of the affected area without having to make exposing incisions.
Endoscopes come in a variety of types and sizes but mostly fulfill the responsibility of giving the doctor/surgeon a better view of the surgical site.
Components of Endoscope
An endoscope usually consists of:
- Flexible (or rigid) tube
- Cold light-source attached via a fiber optic cable at its end for illuminating the affected region inside the body
- Relay system of lenses to allow the surgeon/doctor to view the surgical site properly
- An eyepiece/video monitor for viewing the images/video feed transmitted by the lens/camera attached to it
- Additional similar tubes attached with miniaturized surgical instruments
Uses of Endoscopy
An endoscope can be used to:
- Investigate symptoms of various disorders affecting the digestive system
- Confirm a diagnosis done through a biopsy
- Perform treatment procedures such as cauterization of hemorrhaging blood vessels inside the body, widening a narrowed food-pipe (esophagus) as well as excision and removal of foreign objects inside the body or on the skin
General surgery is an important field in medical and surgical science with advancements such as minimally invasive endoscopic procedures making treatment of a large variety of disorders and diseases more efficient and successful.