Pursuing a career in surgery is one of the most fulfilling jobs in the world. But it’s not for the faint-hearted. Performing interventions and other life-saving surgical procedures day in and day out takes a special dedication and commitment, unlike any other field.
Surgeons need to be thorough in their skills and highly professional. They are also some of the highest-paid professionals in the world. They’ve spent years studying and perfecting their trade, which is always in high demand everywhere and anytime.
There are different types of surgeons who specialise in different kinds of surgery. For those who are confused as to which specialisation to choose, we are here to help you simplify your choices.
1. General Surgeons
As the name suggests, the responsibilities of a general surgeon are extremely versatile and involve many duties. These include procedures and different types of surgeries related to conditions associated with the neck, head and soft tissues. They also deal with issues related to the abdominal wall, vascular, endocrine and gastrointestinal systems. In short, a general surgeon looks after a broad range of problems that require surgical intervention. The training needed is also one that requires a holistic approach rather than just a specific one. Simply put, it involves the role of different surgeons combined into one.
The nervous system of the human body comprises the brain, spinal cord, sensory organs, and the vast network of nerves that connects and interlinks these three parts to one another. It’s one of the most complex systems in the body and requires a very deep and highly specialised understanding of all its functions. Therefore, the job of a neurosurgeon is extremely difficult yet rewarding. Unlike other kinds of surgeons, neurosurgeons diagnose ailments connected to the brain. Their work involves removing harmful tumours and cancers, treating aneurysms and haemorrhages, correcting slip disks, and treating muscle paralysis that sets in due to various reasons.
3. Thoracic Surgeons
If a patient having issues related to the chest area needs treatment and surgical intervention, they consult a thoracic surgeon who deals with anything related to the two major organs of the body—the heart and the chest. These are delicate systems that consist of the arteries, blood vessels, oesophagus, heart valves, and diaphragm. Among the different types of surgeons, the work of a thoracic surgeon is one of a kind. They perform airway reconstruction, bronchoscopy, chest reconstruction and chest wall resection. Other complicated procedures that a thoracic surgeon performs are coronary artery bypass, heart transplants, heart valve repair or replacement surgeries.
4. Colon and Rectal Surgeons
This category of surgeons deals with problems related to the colon, anal canal, rectum and the lower digestive system that includes the intestines. Some of these conditions can be extremely painful and require not just experience but also great skill. Colon and rectal surgeons treat haemorrhoids, fissures, inflammatory bowel disease (IBS), Crohn’s disease, and diverticulitis, colon cancer, ailments related to the bowel lining to name a few.
5. Ophthalmic Surgeons
These surgeons perform different types of surgeries to treat ailments related to the eye. Therefore, they can also be called eye surgeons or eye doctors. They diagnose and treat a wide range of eye and vision problems. They remove cataracts, perform eye correction operations, treat glaucoma and correct retinal detachment. The eyes are one of the most delicate parts of the body and only highly trained professionals like ophthalmologists are capable of handling such intricate procedures.
6. Orthopedic Surgeons
Orthopaedic surgeons diagnose and treat issues related to the musculoskeletal system, which includes bones, joints, muscles, nerves and sometimes even the skin. Interventions may not just be in the form of surgeries but also through the use of casts, braces and physiotherapy. Orthopaedic surgeons perform different types of surgeries such as knee replacements and joint correction surgeries. In case of accidents and other mishaps, orthopaedic surgeons set bones right and also perform trauma surgery. Orthopaedic surgeons are especially in demand in sports and allied fields, where they tend to injured athletes or are involved in sports medicine.
7. Obstetrician and gynaecologist
An obstetrician is an expert in childbirth, tending to the healthcare of patients during their pregnancy and after they give birth. A gynaecologist, on the other hand, is trained to provide care for all problems related to the female reproductive system. The duties and expertise of an obstetrician are often in tandem with those of a gynaecologist, due to which they are often referred to with their short forms, OB-GYN. Obstetricians and gynaecologists perform crucial and varied types of surgeries routinely whether it be for the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STDs and STIs), removal of tumours, cancers and fluids such as ovarian cysts, or childbirth procedures such as caesareans. They also intervene in matters affecting fertility, menopause and menstruation.
Closely related to the above two disciplines, a urologist addresses issues of the reproductive and urinary system. This includes any ailments related to the kidneys, bladder, ureters, prostate, testes and urethra. Urologists perform laparoscopic surgeries, endoscopies, vasectomies, prostate biopsies, and nephrectomy among other procedures.
Oncology is the specialisation of providing diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation to those with cancer. The treatment of cancer can be done through surgical procedures or non-surgical methods such as chemotherapy and the administration of medicines. For the former, it is a surgical oncologist who has to be called in to remove tumours and cancers. Oncologists have to consult specialists from various fields in order to arrive at a proper diagnosis and prognosis of patients. They also work with different kinds of surgeons with respect to the task at hand. The surgeries they perform could be related to the lungs, bladder, kidney, brain, skin or breasts. Oncologists, therefore, have a multidisciplinary approach towards their work.
10. Plastic Surgeons
Among the different types of surgeons, a plastic surgeon is probably one that people hear the most about. This is majorly because of their association with celebrities. The job of a plastic surgeon is to reconstruct or restore parts of the body to its earlier form or make improvements according to the client’s wishes. In case of accidents, where victims suffer severe deformities on parts of their body, plastic surgeons try to ensure that things are set right. Others may engage in the services of plastic surgery purely for aesthetic reasons like breast enhancement procedures, or facial surgeries on the nose, lips, and cheek.
Different Types of Surgeons and Their Salaries
Irrespective of the type of surgeon, one thing is for sure, every specialisation in the field of medicine is handsomely paid. Surgeons with one or two years of experience will earn around $100,000 to $200,000 per annum. Those with many years of experience can earn anywhere between $300,000 to $500,000 per annum. Some neurosurgeons and even plastic surgeons are known to make around $1 million per year.
In terms of earnings, the sky’s the limit for surgeons. Depending on their reputation, clientele and experience, a surgeon’s earnings will shoot through the roof in no time.
AUA can be Your Launchpad to a Successful Career in Surgery
Becoming a surgeon depends as much on your hard work and dedication as on the medical school you choose to go and especially its faculty. The American University of Antigua College of Medicine (AUA) has world-class facilities and a faculty who are nothing short of the best in the world. They are experts in their respective specialities with experience of several decades in their field. The visiting faculty are from the likes of John Hopkins University, Memorial Kettering Sloan Cancer Center and The Universities of West Indies to name just a few. AUA has partnerships and academic tie-ups with some of the best institutions in the world. Students are required to spend a considerable part of their academic course in these places training. To become the best you need to learn from the best and at an institution that is considered world-class.