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Researched by Kelly B.

    • Why I Chose This Topic
    • Dedication
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    • Thanks for Helping

Research Summary

Surgeons are physicians or doctors who perform preoperative, operative, and postoperative surgical care that can affect almost every part of the body.
Their name comes from the Greek word “Chirurergeon”,  “cheir” meaning hand, and “ergeon” meaning work.

Types of Surgeons
There are many types of surgeons. Neurosurgeons work on the brain, spine, and nerves. There are Otolaryngolgists, who are nose, ear, and throat doctors. Ophthamologists are eye doctors. There’s the thorasic surgeon, who operates on the chest. A Urologist operates on kidneys, bladder, uterus, and prostate gland. Cardiologists are doctors who deal with the heart, heart disease, and heart treatment. Plastic surgeons, do reconstructive and cosmetic surgery.

Education and Training
To become a surgeon you have to be a really good student in high school, meaning one of the top 10% or so. Then you have to go to college for at least 3 years and you have to get a Bachelors degree. Then you have to take the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test). Medical school takes about 3-4 years and then you enter residency, serious on-the-job training. After you pass some more tests and get a state license you’re a surgeon.

Medical students take many helpful classes. Anatomy is a detailed examination of the body. Biochemistry is chemistry of biological substances and processes. There’s also physiology, which is the biological study of the functions of living organisms and their parts. Pharmacology is the study of drugs including their effects, uses, and composition. Psychology is the science of mental processes and behavior. The study that deals with microorganisms and especially the effects on other types of life is microbiology. Pathology is the scientific study of the nature of disease process, development, and consequences. Medical ethics is the medical code of conduct; what’s right and wrong. Residency is just basically practice for surgery, which will usually take 4 or more years.

In 2004 14.6% of the 567,000 U.S. doctors were surgeons, that’s 83,000 surgeons! Their yearly earnings are $229,000 if they have less than two years of experience.  Their yearly earnings are $283,000 if they have more than two years of experience.

Surgery is said to be the oldest medical specialty. China, Egypt, Greece, and India say that people have always performed surgery. Pathology studies made surgery more effective. In the 18th century, tumor and bladder stone removal was popular. Joseph Lister invented the antiseptic in the 19th century. This made Surgery much safer, because there was a good way to kill germs that might infect a person during surgery.

Surgical Tools
Surgeons use all kinds of different tools, like a retractor to hold skin. Clamps are used to close blood vessels. They use scissors and scalpels (knives) to open up the body. Bronchoscope’s (a skinny tool with a tiny light) are used to inspect your bronchus which is a main branch leading to your lung. They use lasers to cut body tissues. CT scanners and x-ray machines are used to take pictures of your body and what’s inside of it. A needle holder is used for the most obvious thing, holding needles! They use laparoscopes to view the abdomen (stomach) or pelvis’ (hip) cavities.

Categories of Surgery
Wound treatment is restoration of body tissues. Physiological surgery is eliminating symptoms of disease, it also is transplantation surgery. Reconstructive surgery is repairing injured or deformed body parts.
Future Outlook
Medicine or chemicals will be applied to wounds during surgery to enhance healing.

Surgery is a very advanced medical specialty and is a very common and useful procedure.

Who I Interviewed And What I Learned

I interviewed Dr. William J. Surovchak on January 3, 2006. I figured that he’d be a good choice because he’s a Physician’s Assistant (P.A.). This career is very close in relationship to a surgeon. He has been involved with surgery for about 23 years. To become a surgeon he had to go through 4 years of college, and 2 years of P.A. school. His whole job responsibility is pretty much helping people.

The first P.A. program was at Duke University. In the late 1960’s many corpsmen returning from war had good medical skills and experience but no further education in medicine.
Some of the most recent changes are Orthopedics. “We operate on many more fractures now as we can fix them more securely, have them heal better, and get the patient back to work and play sooner” He said. The new developments in surgery include, “New joint replacement Prosthetics and medications to treat arthritis.”

One major problem we talked about is that new technologies and medications always cost more while insurance companies want to pay less.

Dr. Surovchak says, “Medication or chemicals applied to a fracture at surgery will enhance the healing.”


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition, “Physicians and Surgeons”, (visited January 12, 2006).

Morris, William, Editor. American Heritage Dictionary. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1973.
“Surgeons” Ferguson’s Encyclopedia. 2005. Pp. 175-178.
“Surgery” Compton’s Encyclopedia. 2003. Pp.1-4.

“Surgery” World Book Encyclopedia. Chicago, World Book Inc., 2004. Pp. 1-4.

 Surovchak, William. Personal interview. January 3, 2006.

Webb-Sugar, Jan. Opportunities in Physician Careers. Illinois:VGM Career Horizon, 2000. Pp.54-60.

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