20 Types of Surgeons You Could Work with in the Operating Room

two male surgeons operating

When people have surgery, they place a high degree of trust in the competency of the medical professionals handling the procedures. That means if you want a career that’s highly valued by society, becoming a surgical technologist is an excellent place to look.

But what about the people you’ll be working closely with? A surgeon’s a surgeon, right? While there are a lot of similarities among them, there’s also a wide variety of surgical specialties to practice. To help you develop a better understanding of what’s out there, let’s examine 20 of the most common types of surgeons you’ll work with as a surgical tech.

A closer look at the types of surgeons you could assist:

1. General surgeon

As the name suggests, a general surgeon is a generalist who needs an overall base of knowledge and understanding about anatomy, surgical procedures and post-operative care. The types of procedures performed will vary day-to-day based on patients’ needs, but typically their work focuses on the abdominal area. Often general surgeons work in trauma or critical care units to perform emergency surgical procedures.

2. Cardiothoracic surgeon

Surgeons who specialize in procedures involving the heart, lungs, esophagus and other organs within the chest fall under this category. These surgeons are sometimes referred to as cardiac or cardiovascular surgeons.

3. Neurosurgeon

A neurosurgeon focuses on conditions affecting the central and peripheral nervous system of the body. Neurosurgeons become experts about diseases and conditions that affect the brain and spine, and commonly help patients suffering from strokes and other degenerative conditions and infections.

4. Oral and maxillofacial surgeon

Dentists often refer patients to oral and maxillofacial surgeons for treatment requiring surgery on the mouth and jaw. Common procedures include wisdom tooth extraction, reconstructive surgery and dental implants.

5. Obstetric and gynecological surgeon

Women experiencing high-risk pregnancies or encountering other reproductive health issues may see a surgeon specializing in this type of care. Benign growths, cancerous tissue and infertility are typical conditions for which these surgeons may be needed.

6. Otolaryngology surgeon

When treatment involving the ears, nose or throat is needed, an otolaryngology surgeon will be called. In fact, they are frequently referred to as ear, nose and throat doctors. They may also be involved with surgery on the larynx, sinuses, mouth, neck and face.

7. Ophthalmic surgeon

Specially trained to perform surgery on the eyes, ophthalmic surgeons handle procedures such as removing cataracts, repairing detached retinas, reshaping corneas, treating glaucoma and performing laser surgery.

8. Oculoplastic surgeon

Oculoplastic surgeons specialize in procedures involving the eye socket, eyelids, tear ducts and face near the eyes. Oculoplastic surgeons may perform a range of treatments from medically necessary reconstructive surgery to cosmetic procedures on the eyelids.

9. Pediatric surgeon

Specializing in the care of children, pediatric surgeons are trained to care for the youngest members of society. Pediatric surgeons work with a range of ages from infants to teens. Besides having medical expertise, these surgeons become experts in communicating with and relating to children.

10. Plastic surgeon

Plastic surgeons focus on the repair of defects to the skin and the underlying musculoskeletal structure of the body. These surgeons master techniques for the transplantation of tissues from one area of the body to another. They perform both medically necessary and cosmetic treatments.

11. Colon and Rectal surgeon

These surgeons specialize in health issues related to the colon, rectum and intestinal system. They often treat patients with removal of polyps and cancerous tissue, as well as provide procedures for inflammatory bowel diseases.

12. Orthopedic surgeon

Orthopedic surgeons cover a broad range of issues related to the musculoskeletal system, including treatment of muscles, joints, bones, arteries and skin. After being trained in the overall study of orthopedic surgery, many surgeons in this field eventually develop a specialty in a more specific area.

13. Trauma surgeon

Waiting in an emergency room of a hospital near you, trauma surgeons are the ones ready to step into action when severely injured patients are rushed in. These are the medical professionals who work with intensity to save lives when life and death hangs in the balance.

14. Urological surgeon

Providing treatment for the male genitourinary and female urinary systems, urological surgeons offer procedures for a variety of conditions such as incontinence, kidney stones and cancers. These surgeons also work with kidney, bladder, prostate and adrenal gland issues.

15. Vascular surgeon

These surgeons treat conditions affecting veins and arteries. Surgical procedures could be prescribed for hardening of the arteries, aneurysms and blood clots. Vascular surgeons are often brought in when a patient suffers a stroke or is thought to be a potential victim of one.

16. Bariatric surgeons

To help people fight obesity, bariatric surgeons provide a variety of procedures, including gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy and adjustable gastric bands. These treatments work by limiting the food intake that the stomach can hold.

17. Podiatric surgeons

When your feet and ankles are troubling you, a podiatric surgeon is the specialist to see. People suffering from bunions, injuries and pain in their feet and ankles might seek treatment from a podiatric surgeon.

18. Hand surgeon

The human hand is a very intricate system, so much so that some surgeons specialize in procedures involving the hand, wrist and forearm. Their patients come from both people who have genetic conditions and those who suffer injuries.

19. Transplant surgeon

The science of transplanting an organ from a donor to another person is a complicated one. Most commonly transplanted organs are kidneys, livers, hearts and lungs. The process is so intricate, that most transplant surgeons specialize in a specific organ.

20. Endocrine surgeon

These surgeons are specialists in procedures to treat disorders of the endocrine glands, most often the thyroid gland, parathyroid glands and adrenal glands. They also treat patients with issues related to the neuroendocrine system.

Find your fit

If you’re searching for a career with many pathways to opportunity, you should take a serious look at what it takes to become a surgical technologist. After completing training, you’ll find there are many types of surgeons who need a professional like yourself to assist. But your first step is to figure out if you’d be a fit for working in this role. To learn more, check out our article, “6 Signs You Should Consider Becoming a Surgical Technologist.”


Gordon Hanson

Gordon is a freelance writer for Collegis Education who writes student-focused articles on behalf of Rasmussen College. He enjoys using the storytelling power of words to help others discover new paths in the journeys of life.

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