It may seem like common knowledge, but there are several people out there that are unaware of the different specialties associated with surgery. Many people assume that a surgeon is well-versed in all forms of surgery. And while general surgeons do exist, as mentioned in last month’s entry, they cannot perform all forms of surgery; no surgeon can. And that is exactly why surgeons specialize in different areas.
In this ongoing series, I will continue to shed some light on the multiple types of surgeons.
Obstetricians and Gynecologists
These surgeons are some of the most diverse in the medical field, as they assist with the female reproductive system on multiple levels. Obstetricians care specifically for women during and just after their pregnancy whereas gynecologists specialize and treat the female reproductive system. There are obstetrician/gynecologists who are well-versed in both fields of care. Obstetricians are also trained in delivering a baby. Beyond that, there are also subsections of obstetricians, such as reproductive endocrinologists who specialize in treating symptoms associated with infertility.
Once a child is born, an obstetrician can assist for a while after the birth, but a pediatrician will usually take over shortly after. Pediatricians then assist in any injuries or maladies in children. Neonatal surgeons are a subspecialty of pediatrics; neonatal surgeons are specifically trained in performing surgery on both infants and very young children. There are also prenatal surgeons who are trained in caring for a child during the fetal stages of development. This includes everything from performing ultrasounds to leading groundbreaking experimentation within fetal surgery.
Most people assume that plastic surgeons solely perform unnecessary and cosmetic reconstructive surgery, such as breast augmentation or facelifts. And while this is true, it is only a small fraction of what plastic surgeons can do. Plastic surgeons also specialize in necessary reconstructive surgery, typically of the face, oropharynx and upper and lower limbs. Plastic surgeons are also trained to deal with emergency surgery and situations such as skin burns and facial and hand injuries; in fact, most plastic surgeons are also incredibly well-versed in analysing, assessing and treating injuries and trauma to the hand.
In the medical world, there are several specialties and subspecialties, far too many to name on a single list. Hopefully this entry raised a bit of awareness to the different sectors of surgery.