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A surgeon is a special type of doctor who specializes in surgery. Surgeons operate on patients to treat injury, disease, and deformity. Using a variety of instruments, a surgeon corrects physical deformities, repairs bone and tissue after injuries, or performs preventive surgeries on patients.
Although a large number of surgeons perform general surgery, many choose to specialize in a specific area. Specialties include orthopedic surgery (broken bones), neurological surgery (the brain and nervous system), cardiovascular surgery (the heart), oral and maxillofacial surgery (teeth and jaws), as well as plastic or reconstructive surgery.
Surgeons must be good at working with their hands. They work with very precise and sometimes sharp tools, and mistakes can have serious consequences. Surgeons must also have a great deal of patience and be comfortable performing physical tasks. They may spend a long time bending over patients during surgery.
A surgeon’s wages are among the highest of all occupations, but the job requires many years of extensive training and study. It usually takes at least 4 years of college (with an emphasis on chemistry, biology, and math), 4 years of medical school, and at least 5 years working in a hospital. For some specialties, surgeons may have to work in a hospital for up to 8 years before they are fully trained.
Anesthesiologists, first assistants, surgical nurses, surgical technologists, and operating department practitioners are trained professionals who support surgeons.
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