What is an Operating Surgeon and What Do They Do?
An operating surgeon is a doctor who specializes in performing surgical procedures that are used to diagnose, treat and repair the body. Operating surgeons can work on different parts of the body, such as the heart, brain, bones, eyes, or skin. Operating surgeons are the leaders of the surgical team and ensure the procedure goes smoothly.
How to Become an Operating Surgeon
To become an operating surgeon, one must complete four years of medical school and four or more years of special training in a specific surgery specialty. Most operating surgeons also pass exams for board certification by the American Board of Surgery or other national groups. Some operating surgeons also have approval of the Fellows of the American College of Surgeons (FACS), which means they have met high standards of education and ethics.
What are the Roles and Responsibilities of an Operating Surgeon?
An operating surgeon has many roles and responsibilities before, during and after surgery. Some of them are:
- Performing a preoperative diagnosis and care of the patient
- Explaining the risks and benefits of the surgery to the patient and obtaining informed consent
- Selecting and preparing the appropriate surgical instruments and equipment
- Performing the surgery using various techniques, such as open surgery, minimally invasive surgery, or robotic surgery
- Monitoring the patient’s vital signs and blood loss during the surgery
- Managing any complications or emergencies that may arise during the surgery
- Closing the incisions with stitches (sutures) or staples
- Providing postoperative care and instructions to the patient and their family
- Following up with the patient to check their recovery and healing
- Documenting the surgery and its outcomes in medical records
What are the Skills and Qualities of an Operating Surgeon?
An operating surgeon needs to have various skills and qualities to perform their job well. Some of them are:
- Excellent manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination
- Strong knowledge of human anatomy and physiology
- Critical thinking and problem-solving skills
- Attention to detail and accuracy
- Ability to work under pressure and stress
- Good communication and interpersonal skills
- Leadership and teamwork skills
- Compassion and empathy for patients
- Lifelong learning and curiosity for new developments in surgery
What are the Challenges and Rewards of Being an Operating Surgeon?
Being an operating surgeon can be a challenging and rewarding career. Some of the challenges are:
- Working long and irregular hours, sometimes on weekends and holidays
- Dealing with complex and high-risk cases that may have life-threatening consequences
- Handling the emotional and physical stress of surgery and its outcomes
- Balancing the demands of work and personal life
- Keeping up with the advances and changes in surgical technology and practice
Some of the rewards are:
- Saving lives and improving the quality of life of patients
- Using creativity and innovation to solve medical problems
- Working with a diverse and talented team of professionals
- Earning respect and recognition from peers and society
- Experiencing personal and professional growth and satisfaction
What are the Career Opportunities for an Operating Surgeon?
An operating surgeon can work in various settings, such as hospitals, clinics, ambulatory surgery centers, or private practices. They can also choose to specialize in a specific area of surgery, such as cardiovascular, neurosurgery, orthopedic, plastic, or trauma surgery. Operating surgeons can also pursue academic or research careers, teaching medical students or residents, or conducting clinical trials or studies. Operating surgeons can also join professional organizations, such as the American College of Surgeons, to network with other surgeons, attend conferences and workshops, and access educational resources.