Surgery is the field of medicine dedicated to using surgical procedures to treat medical conditions. Surgical procedures can remove, transplant, or reposition organs and tissue within the body and can also implant medical devices. Some surgical procedures such as incisional biopsy can assist physicians in making more accurate diagnoses. Many surgeons practice a surgical specialty, an area of surgery focused on a region of the body or group of health conditions. Surgical specialties include, but are not limited to:
Surgeons can assess patients with imaging scans (X-ray, MRI, CT scan), medical history, biopsy (tissue sample), or other tests. Surgeons may perform physical examinations to determine whether surgery is required. Patients who receive a diagnosis of a condition that is not life-threatening, but may benefit from surgery, can opt for elective surgery. Elective surgery is any surgical procedure that can be planned for at an earlier date. For example, patients may decide to receive surgery for vision correction or for a hip replacement. Some surgeries are unplanned (also referred to as emergency surgeries), such as when an appendix ruptures or an individual endures severe injury.
Surgeons may collaborate with anesthesiologists, primary care physicians, specialists, and surgical assistants, among others.