General surgery is the treatment of injury, deformity, and disease using operative procedures. General surgery is frequently performed to decrease suffering when a cure is unlikely through medication alone. It can be used for routine procedures performed in a physician’s office, such as vasectomy, or for more complicated operations requiring a medical team in a hospital setting, such as laparoscopic cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder). Areas of the body treated by general surgery include the stomach, liver, intestines, appendix, breasts, thyroid gland, salivary glands, some arteries and veins, and the skin. The brain, heart, eyes, and feet, to name only a few, are areas that require specialized surgical repair.
New methods and techniques are less invasive than previous practices, permitting procedures that were considered impossible in the past. For example, microsurgery has been used in reattaching severed body parts by successfully reconnecting small blood vessels and nerves.
Patients who are obese, smoke, have bleeding tendencies, or are over 60, need to follow special precautions, as do patients who have recently experienced an illness such as pneumonia or a heart attack. Patients on medications such as heart and blood pressure medicine, blood thinners, muscle relaxants, tranquilizers, insulin, or sedatives, may require special lab tests prior to surgery and special monitoring during surgery. Special precautions may be required for patients using mind-altering drugs such as narcotics, psychedelics, hallucinogens, marijuana, sedatives, or cocaine since these drugs may interact with the anesthetic agents used during surgery.
Types of general surgery
General surgery experienced major advances with the introduction of the endoscope. This is an instrument for visualizing the interior of a body canal or a hollow organ. Endoscopic surgery relies on this pencilthin instrument, capable of its own lighting system and small video camera. The endoscope is inserted through tiny incisions called portals. While viewing the procedure on a video screen, the surgeon then operates with various other small, precise instruments inserted through one or more of the portals. The specific area of the body treated determines the type of endoscopic surgery performed. For example, colonoscopy uses an endoscope, which can be equipped with a device for obtaining tissue samples for visual examination of the colon. Gastroscopy uses an endoscope inserted through the mouth to examine the interior of the stomach. Arthroscopy refers to joint surgery, and abdominal procedures arecalled laparoscopies.
Endoscopy is used in both treatment and diagnosis especially involving the digestive and female reproductive systems. The methode has advantages over many other surgical procedures, resulting in a quicker recovery and shorter hospital stay. This non-invasive technique is being used for appendectomies, gallbladder surgery, hysterectomies and the repair of shoulder and knee ligaments. However, endoscopy does not come without limitations such as complications and high operating expense. Also, endoscopy doesn’t offer advantages over conventional surgery in all procedures. Some literature states that as general surgeons become more experienced in their prospective fields, additional non-invasive surgery will be a more common option to patients.
ONE-DAY SURGERY. One-day surgery is also termed same-day, or outpatient surgery. Surgical procedures usually take two hours or less and involve minimal blood loss and a short recovery time. In the majority of surgical cases,oral medications control postoperative pain. Cataract removal, laparoscopy, tonsillectomy, repair of broken bones, hernia repair, and a wide range of cosmetic procedures are common same-day surgical procedures. Many individuals prefer the convenience and atmosphere of one-day surgery centers, as there is less competition for attention with more serious surgical cases.
The preparation of patients has advanced significantly with improved diagnostic techniques and procedures. Before surgery the patient may be asked to undergo a series of tests including blood and urine studies, x rays and specific heart studies if the patient’s past medical history and/or physical exam warrants this testing. Before any general surgery the physician will explain the nature of the surgery needed, the reason for the procedure, and the anticipated outcome. The risks involved will be discussed along with the types of anesthesia utilized. The expected length of recovery and limitations imposed during the recovery period are also explained in detail before any general surgical procedure.
Surgical procedures most often require some type of anesthetic. Some procedures require only local anesthesia, produced by injecting the anesthetic agent into the skin near the site of the operation.The patient remains awake with this form of medication. Injecting anesthetic agents into a primary nerve located near the surgical site produces block anesthesia (also known as regional anesthesia),which is a more extensive local anesthesia.The patient remains conscious, but is usually sedated. General anesthesia involves injecting anesthetic agents into the blood stream and/or inhaling medicines through a mask placed over the patient’s face. During general anesthesia, the patient is asleep and an airway tube is usually placed into the windpipe to help keep the airway open.