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What Are the Different Types of Surgeons?

By Patti Kate
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Surgery is a broad medical specialty, so surgeons generally focus on a narrow aspect of the field. Surgical specialties are often categorized by the type of patient, disease, or body area on which a surgeon is an expert. A cardiac surgeon, sometimes referred to as a heart surgeon, performs procedures such as open-heart surgery or heart transplant surgery. Children who need surgical procedures are generally seen by a pediatric surgeon. When a patient requires surgery to repair a fracture, he may be recommended to an orthopedic surgeon, who repairs injuries of the musculoskeletal system.

When a patient requires a tonsillectomy to remove diseased tonsils, the procedure is typically performed by an otorhinolaryngologist (ENT). These types of surgeons treat diseases and injuries of the ear, nose, or throat. An ENT may also perform procedures to remove polyps, which are small growths inside of the nasal cavity. These types of surgeons may also perform cosmetic surgery of the nose and ear.

Cosmetic surgeons are sometimes known as plastic surgeons or reconstructive surgeons. A cosmetic surgeon specializes in procedures that reconstruct various body parts, generally to enhance a person's physical appearance. A reconstructive surgeon may perform procedures on the nose, jaw, eyelids, or breasts. Breast augmentation is a procedure performed by cosmetic surgeons to create fuller, uplifted breasts, typically with the use of breast implants.

Premature infants who require delicate surgery are often treated by a neonatal surgeon. This type of surgeon will perform procedures on infants during the first few months of life. After a baby reaches three or four months of age, however, he will generally be treated by a pediatrician.

Patients with head trauma or those who require brain surgery are typically treated by neurosurgeons. These surgeons repair injuries to the skull and brain, and also treat hemorrhaging of the brain. Neurosurgeons also operate on patients with brain tumors. Most neurosurgeons also perform spinal cord surgery.

Women who require removal of the uterus, also known as a hysterectomy, will be treated by a gynecological surgeon. This type of surgeon also performs a caesarian section to deliver a baby when a vaginal birth is not feasible. The gynecological surgeon performs various other procedures involving the reproductive system of women.

Diseases of the eyes, including cataracts, retinal detachment, and glaucoma, often require surgery by a skilled ophthalmologist. This type of surgeon specifically performs procedures to repair eye problems or correct vision. Laser eye correction is another procedure the ophthalmologist performs.

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