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How To Become a General Surgeon

Published By Team Setmycareer on Sep 20, 2023

Discover How To Become a General Surgeon

General Surgeon

A General Surgeon is a physician who uses different surgical instruments to treat a range of patients who have different illness. They assess patients and also interpret the different diagnostic tests that are performed. They have acquired the advance training that is needed and have the license to perform surgery. The types of surgeries a general surgeon may perform are quite varied and may include an appendectomy, hernia repair and gallbladder removal.

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General surgeons may also remove or repair parts of the abdominal organs, operate on breast tumors or skin cancers. In addition to caring for patients pre-operatively and performing surgery, general surgeons also monitor patients postoperatively.

Surgeons may examine patients’ incisions, monitor their recovery and manage any post-operative pain. During the course of an operation, the surgeon must make important decisions about the patient's health, safety, and welfare.


Furthermore, the surgeon must work to ensure cooperation among the other members of the surgical team, which typically includes another surgeon or qualified person who acts as the surgeon's assistant, the anesthesiologist, and operating room nurses. The duties of a General Surgeon includes to studies the medical history of a patient. This is to ensure that the patient don’t have allergies with the drugs that is to be administered. After assessing the condition of a patient, the surgeon would have to decide the procedure to be done.

General Surgeons should make sure that all the surgical instruments that will be used for the procedure is prepared before they start the surgery. They also have to inform their client and the family about the procedure to be done, the benefits and the risks that the client has to face. General Surgeon is the one who manages and schedules the surgery. They also make a case history and follow-up the condition of the patient after the surgery. They make important decisions during surgery depending on the condition of the patient.

General Surgeons perform a variety of procedures except those that are complicated like operations of the heart and the brain. They must have excellent motor skills since they will be using surgical instruments.

Skills Required To Become A General Surgeon

  • Medical Knowledge and Expertise
  • Surgical Proficiency
  • Diagnostic Skills
  • Communication Skills
  • Problem Solving Abilities
  • Attention to Detail
  • Steady Hands and Hand-Eye Coordination
  • Adaptability
  • Physical Stamina
  • Empathy and Bedside Manner
  • Teamwork and Collaboration
  • Leadership Skills
  • Ethical and Professional Conduct
  • Continuous Learning and Education

Is This Career Right For You?

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Entry Level Education

  • Bachelor’s / Master’s Degree in Medical School with Science and Anatomy classes.
  • Ph.D., Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Doctor of Osteopathy (DO) degree or J.D. (law degree).

Steps To Become A General Surgeon

  1. Earn a Bachelor's Degree

    Begin your journey by completing a bachelor's degree in a relevant field such as biology, chemistry, or pre-medical studies.

  2. Medical School

    Attend and graduate from a medical school. This typically takes four years and results in a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degree.

  3. Residency

    Complete a surgical residency program, which usually lasts five to seven years. During this time, you'll gain hands-on experience in various surgical specialties, including general surgery.

  4. Obtain a Medical License

    Obtain a state medical license by passing the necessary exams and meeting other licensing requirements in your jurisdiction.

  5. Board Certification

    Pursue board certification in general surgery by passing the qualifying exams administered by relevant medical boards.

  6. Specialization (Optional)

    If desired, you can further specialize in a specific area of surgery through additional fellowship training.

  7. Continuous Education

    Stay updated with the latest advancements in surgery through ongoing medical education and professional development.

Work Environment

General surgeons work in hospitals and medical centers of all sizes. They may also work in outpatient surgery centers. Although some surgeries are scheduled, general surgery can also be an emergency. Surgeons may be required to work all shifts, including overnight, weekends and holidays. In some cases, general surgeons may need to be on-call in case of surgical emergencies. Although they spend a lot of their working hours in the operating room, surgeons also make rounds in all areas of the hospital. They will also usually spend some time seeing patients in their offices.

How Long Does It Take To Become A General Surgeon

In India, it typically takes a minimum of 8 years to become a General surgeon, following the completion of high school. This timeline can be broken down as follows:

  • Bachelor's Degree (MBBS): It takes 5.5 years to complete a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) program. This includes 4.5 years of classroom and clinical training, followed by a one-year internship at a medical college or hospital.
  • Postgraduate Degree (MS): After obtaining the MBBS degree, individuals can pursue a Master of Surgery (MS) program in General Surgery, which takes an additional 3 years to complete.


The entire process typically takes a minimum of 8 years, but it can extend further if one chooses to specialize or take additional training. Becoming a general surgeon is a challenging but rewarding path that requires dedication, continuous learning, and a commitment to providing medical care in the field of surgery



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