4 Types of Surgeons and What They Do
It’s long been said that we are entering a world in which medicine has become a lot more scientific and more specialist. Rarely will a general surgeon attend specialist appointments – we now rely on highly trained and highly skilled specialists to complete surgery and follow-up with the patients. As with most specialisms, medical students will be able to rotate around different options during their training to find an option that suits them best. Some students will decide to go onto general surgery and work in ER departments, but for many students, there will be a desire to specialize.
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The need for skilled cataract surgeons has only increased in the last few decades, as more people live well into their 80s. Older people (over 80) are more likely to develop cataracts in their eyes, and many of these will require surgery to correct, which leads to increasing demand for specialist surgeons to perform the operation, which is a relatively simple 15-minute procedure. Cataract surgery has been performed in one guise or another for hundreds of years, mostly before the days of anesthesia.
Neurosurgeons spend their days operating on brains and the spinal column! It’s an exciting career path as scientists are learning more and more about the brain every day, which makes this specialism especially exciting as it sees huge advancements on an almost weekly basis. Neurosurgeons work on the brain to remove tumors, for example. And for some of these surgeries, the patient will be awake and conscious for the procedure. This area of the body is incredibly sensitive, so neurosurgeons must display extraordinary dexterity and hold their nerve under great pressure.
Maxillofacial surgeons work in restorative dentistry departments at hospitals. While they are fully trained as dentists and surgeons, you would not expect to see a maxillofacial surgeon for general dentistry work such as fillings and root canals. The type of work that maxillofacial surgeons undertake includes things such as removing wisdom teeth under general anesthetic, removing children’s teeth under general anesthetic, and doing restorative dentistry after accidents. They also operate on the jaw, to correct an overbite, for example. Maxillofacial surgeons will often work in partnership with dentists as before jaw surgery, the patients’ teeth need to be aligned to the position they will be in post-surgery. This can be achieved through braces.
Pediatric surgeons work with children and babies. In some hospitals, pediatric surgeons will work on very young babies right up to older children, but in most hospitals very young newborn babies will be attended to by a neonatal surgeon who is specifically trained to operate on them. Pediatric surgeons are much more likely to look after children from toddler age (around 2 years old) up to young teenagers (around 13 years old).
Working with children and their parents is a difficult job, and pediatric surgeons have one of the higher rates of stress at work due to the work they undertake.