What are the Different Types of Surgeons?

What are the Different Types of Surgeons?

Mar 14, 2015 | 11:00 am

Some people think that all surgeons do the same work, but the American College of Surgeons (ACS) says that there are at least 11 types, and some of them have further areas of specialization! If you’re wondering about the different types of surgeons, take a quick look at five of the most common…and some you may have never known existed.

General Surgeons

When the word “surgeon” comes to mind, most of us think of general surgeons .They can diagnose and treat patients with a broad range of conditions in almost any area of the body. With additional training, they can also specialize in one of the following areas: pediatrics, critical care, vascular and hand surgery.

Plastic Surgeons

You’ve heard of them, but did you know that plastic surgeons don’t just make aesthetic adjustments to a person’s body features and face (also known as cosmetic surgery)? They also specialize in the repair, replacement and reconstruction of the form and function of the body and its underlying system.

Oral Surgeons

Also called oral and maxillofacial surgeons, they specialize in dentistry that involves diagnosing, treating and performing surgery in the area of the mouth, jaws and face. They can administer anesthesia for dental work as well as perform reconstructive and cosmetic procedures on the lower area of the face.

Neurological Surgeons

When it comes to the brain, neurological surgeons are the professionals. They work to diagnose, evaluate, treat, prevent and rehabilitate patients with disorders that affect their brains, spinal cord, spine, surrounding nerves and skull. Pediatric neurosurgeons work specifically with children who suffer head injuries, seizure disorders and other brain- or head-related issues.

OB/GYN Surgeons

Focusing on the female patient, obstetrician and gynecologists who perform surgery manage care of the reproductive system, pregnancy and labor and delivery. They can further specialize in areas such as: Gynecology Oncology; Maternal Fetal Medicine; Infertility and Reproductive Endocrinology; and Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery.

More Surgeons and Specialties

While the above list of surgeons may sound familiar, the next six might be a new discovery. Find out what other areas surgeons can specialize in below.

•Colon and Rectal Surgeons

These surgeons diagnose and treat patients with diseases, polyps, inflamed conditions and infections involving the intestinal tract, rectum, colon and surrounding areas.

•Ophthalmological Surgeons

Focusing on the eyes and vision, these surgeons diagnose and surgically treat ocular disorders, cataracts, glaucoma and other areas of surgery involving vision.

•Orthopedic Surgeons

These surgeons investigate, preserve and restore the extremities and spine when there has been trauma, infection, tumors and deformities. They also treat patients with secondary muscular problems, such as cerebral palsy, paraplegia or stroke. Orthopedics is one of the three largest specialties for surgeons, along with general surgery and OB/GYN, according to the American College of Surgeons Health Policy Research Institute.

•Otolaryngology Surgeons

Also called “Head and Neck” surgeons, they treat patients who suffer with disease or disorders of the ear, nose, throat and respiratory systems. They can operate on the face, head and neck structures.

•Thoracic and Cardiovascular

Patients who suffer ailments in the chest or heart, such as lung cancer and coronary disease, would see a thoracic surgeon.


These surgeons specialize in managing issues with the male and female urinary tract, male reproductive system and female pelvic floor, including issues of the prostrate, kidneys, bladder and more.

This is the career choice of a focused professional, dedicated to protecting and preserving the health of others. After all, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, surgeons complete at least four years of undergrad schooling, four years of medical school and then, depending on their specialty listed above, three to eight years in residency programs!