Careers in STEM
Surgeons are medically qualified doctors who operate on patients in order to treat disease or injury by cutting open a patient's body to repair, remove or replace the diseased or damaged part. They also carry out ward rounds and outpatients clinics and will take on a range of administrative duties and teaching responsibilities.
Becoming a surgeon can take many years and needs a high level of commitment to succeed. Competition for places can be fierce, particularly in the later stages of training. New surgery techniques are continually evolving so new skills will be learnt throughout a career.
Surgeons usually specialise in one of the following ten main areas:
- cardiothoracic - dealing with surgical treatments inside the chest, generally addressing conditions of the heart and lungs
- general - a wide range of knowledge and skills is required to deal with all kinds of surgical emergencies, with an emphasis on acute abdominal problems including the stomach, small bowel, colon, liver and pancreas
- neurosurgery - performing surgery on elements of the nervous system including the brain, spinal cord and extra-cranial cerebrovascular system
- oral and maxillofacial - deals with the diagnosis and surgical treatment of patients with diseases affecting the mouth, jaw, face and neck
- otorhinolaryngology - also known as ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgery. ENTs specialise in a wide range of diseases of the head and neck
- paediatric - dealing with surgery of premature and unborn babies, children and young adults up to the age of 19
- plastic: plastic surgeons deal with surgical restoration, reconstruction or alteration of the human body. This includes cosmetic or aesthetic surgery and the treatment of burns
- trauma and orthopaedic - these surgeons use surgical treatments to treat a wide range of conditions of the musculoskeletal system and supporting structures such as ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves
- urology - urologists fix problems of the female urinary system and the male genitourinary tract. They diagnose and treat disorders of the kidneys, ureters and bladder using surgical techniques
- vascular - vascular surgeons concentrate on the diagnosis and surgical treatment of conditions affecting the circulation, including disease of the arteries, veins and lymphatic vessels