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General Surgery

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by sistermike, May 24, 2002.

  1. sistermike

    sistermike Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 5, 2002
    I think I had read this somewhere I already but I am curious. Ok I was watching this real life women doc show last night and one of the general surgeons said that the only type of surgery she does is breast cancer surgery. I know that there are so many different surgery sub-specialties so the need for a general surgeon isn't really needed. Taking that into prospect, are there really any hospitals beside small town hospitals that will higher a general surgeon? And if so, what kind of work will they be getting?
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  3. surg

    surg 10+ Year Member

    Dec 16, 2001
    I'll try to explain this one...

    There is no such recognized board certified specialty or specialty certification as "breast surgery" in the books of the ABMS (the generally recognized body that acknowledges boards). However, there are a number of general surgeons who do consider themselves breast surgeons in that they limit themselves to breast surgery in their practice. A few of them have even taken specific training in breast disease (generally focusing on the multidisciplinary aspects of breast disease, since from a technical perspective, 95+% of breast cases can be done by a third year resident of below!). Some of them got there by way of general surgery, some finished general surgery then did a surgical oncology fellowship to follow (a 2-3 year fellowship, as specified by the society of surgical oncology (SSO)). Keep in mind that there is no board of surgical oncology either.

    Does this mean that they are not specialists? no. But at the same time, they show up in the masterfile as a "general surgeon."

    As far as who would hire a general surgeon, if my mail from recruiters is any indication, there are a ton of general surgery jobs out there. Some allow you to focus on one aspect or another of general surgery, but the vast majority are looking for surgeons that take care of any kind of patients. Sure the vast majority of cases in community practice are cholecystectomy, hernia, and breast cases, but there are plenty of community surgeons I know doing pancreatic and liver work, bowel work, and even the occasional vascular procedure.

    Don't let people fool you, general surgery is alive and kicking. It faces the challenge of super-specialization that all specialties face at the large academic centers, but outside of that, the field still needs those that want a broad practice.
  4. droliver

    droliver Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    May 1, 2001
    I agree 100% with surg. There is a huge (and somewhat desperate) attempt at recruiting General Surgeons nationwide. Take Kentucky for instance. There are at least 3 groups here in Louisville proper recruiting partners, with another 3 groups in the 3 county metro area looking for surgeons. Multiple medium to small market areas are recruiting, and I'm sure there are some jobs in Lexington too. Our program (Louisville) will graduate 8 chiefs next year & Univ. of Kentucky will have 4-5 graduates. Of our 8: 2 are doing oncology fellowships, 2 are doing vascular fellowships, 1 is doing cardiothoracic, 1 (me) is going in to plastic surgery, and 2 are going into private practice. As you can see only 2 of our 8 will be doing general surgery in a state with almost 20 job openings for general surgeons, many in large metropolitan areas. These types of figures are apparently common nation-wide.

    The spectrum of the practices varies tremendously depending on where you are. In larger markets you probably won't do much vascular work, and you will usually tend to defer some of the larger oncology cases to subspecialists. But with that being said, one of my classmates will join a group in a large metropolitan area and expected to do a good bit of carotids,PVD, and dialysis access and another is joining a group that does a fair # of whipples & liver resections per year.

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