General surgery is a discipline of surgery requiring a surgeon to have essential and core knowledge common to all surgical specialties. General surgery requires a background in diagnosis, preoperative procedures, operative procedures and postoperative management, including the management of complications. The training program for a general surgeon lasts a minimum of five years. Such areas of required knowledge include:

  • Anatomy (structures of the body)
  • Physiology (how the body and its parts work)
  • Pathology (the behavior of disease)
  • Neoplasias (abnormal growths of tissue)
  • Immunology (how the immune system works)
  • Wound healing mechanisms
  • Intensive care
  • Shock and resuscitation
  • Metabolism and nutrition
  • Electrolyte and fluid management
  • Pain management
  • Radiologic and therapeutic imaging

A certified general surgeon must demonstrate broad-based, specialized knowledge and experience in conditions affecting the following:

  • Alimentary tract
  • Abdomen and its contents
  • Breast, skin and soft tissue
  • Endocrine system

A certified general surgeon must additionally demonstrate broad knowledge and experience in:

  • Surgical critical care
  • Surgical oncology
  • Trauma

General surgery’s connection to bariatric surgery

A certified general surgeon must have the knowledge and skills to effectively manage diseases requiring team-based care across multiple areas of medicine or specialties. At ALA, we specialize in a number of minimally invasive general surgeries.

General surgeons must possess knowledge of the unique medical needs of specific patient groups, which include the following related to morbid obesity:

  • Management and knowledge of disorders and diseases of metabolism
  • Surgical and non-surgical interventions for weight loss (bariatrics)
  • Counseling of bariatric patients and families

The difference between a general surgeon and a bariatric surgeon

Bariatric surgeons often begin as general surgeons. Although a general surgeon must be versed in the area of bariatrics and treating the morbidly obese, a bariatric surgeon requires additional specialty training. A fellowship in bariatric surgery of one year or more following completion of a general surgery residency is required.

Bariatric surgeons also spend additional time working with established bariatric surgeons performing different types of weight loss surgery. Bariatric surgeons may also choose to become board certified through the American Board of Obesity and become members of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.

Their advanced training allows them to perform the following types of bariatric surgeries:

Bariatric surgery has helped millions of people shed their excess weight and live healthier lives. In fact, bariatric surgery is known to save lives. At ALA, we offer minimally invasive general surgeries and bariatric surgeries, including robotic-assisted surgeries. Contact our office to learn more about these procedures or make an appointment with one of our board-certified bariatric surgeons.

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