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Surgical Specialties

There are ten surgical specialties. After completing basic surgical training, surgeons can specialise in one of the following areas:

  • Cardiothoracic surgery focuses on the heart, chest and lungs.
  • General surgery is wide ranging and incorporates many different sub-specialties such as breast surgery and gastro-intestinal surgery (on the abdomen).
  • Neurosurgery focuses on the treatment of the brain, spinal cord and central nervous system.
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgery focuses on the face, mouth and jaw. It is unique in demanding practitioners to be both medically and dentally qualified.
  • Otolaryngology is ear, nose and throat surgery, often referred to as ENT.
  • Paediatric surgery is children's surgery.
  • Plastic or reconstructive surgery is one of the few specialties with no defined region, often dealing with reconstruction to deformed or damaged parts of the body. Surgery performed simply to improve appearance is called cosmetic surgery.
  • Trauma and Orthopaedic surgery focuses on bones, fixing fractures and correcting disease or damage.
  • Urology is the treatment of diseases in the urinary tract, including the bladder, kidneys and prostate.
  • Vascular surgery focuses on veins and arteries, common surgical procedures include cartoid endarterectomy, angioplasty and lower limb bypass.

College members are also often members of an association or society specific to that area of surgery. In some cases the association or society may be able to offer help and advice to patients.

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