General Surgeons are responsible for surgery on many parts of the body.
They are primarily abdominal surgeons, looking after surgery of the gastrointestinal tract, including the oesophagus, stomach, liver, bile ducts, gall bladder, pancreas, spleen, small intestine, appendix, colon, rectum & anus. Subsequently patients with abdominal pain are usually looked after by General Surgeons.
Because they are responsible for the abdominal wall, General Surgeons perform the majority of hernia surgery. They also perform bariatric surgery for obesity.
Because many operations in the abdomen can be performed laparascopically (keyhole), General Surgeons are usually expert in this technique.
As they operate on the colon, oesophagus & stomach, many perform endoscopy and colonoscopy.
General Surgeons are also responsible for surgery of the breast for cancer and benign tumours. They also perform surgery of the thyroid and parathyroid glands, while some also operate on the salivary glands.
Skin cancer, melanoma, burns and trauma surgery is also usually performed by General Surgeons.
As well as some of the surgery above, General Surgeons often share different surgery with other specialities. Operations on varicose veins, vasectomy, testicular surgery, paediatric surgery, carpal tunnel surgery etc is often also performed by General Surgeons.
Due to the increasing complexity of some of the surgery listed above, not all general surgeons will perform all different types of surgery. Some surgeons, called subspecialists, only operate on one or two areas of the body, while some often have a special interest and extra training in one area.