how to become a surgeon

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how to become a surgeon

What is a Surgeon?


A surgeon is a medical professional who has a medical degree that includes a specialty for particular organs or procedures. Their primary function is to conduct invasive, internal operations into a patient’s body that correct various problems that arise from disease or injury. They might operate on a diseased heart, excise a brain tumor, or repair badly broken bones, among many other sorts of procedures. To perform these delicate operations, they rely on highly technical diagnostic information, as well as precision operating instruments. Surgeons do not perform routine physical examinations or other duties generally relegated to general practitioners. They do, however, work with patients.

Surgeons offer consultations with patients prior to their procedures, however, and may have their staff, or referred professionals, take diagnostic data from patients. The surgeon will review and analyze the data and imagery to determine how to best proceed when the operation begins.

  • Overview
  • Skills to Acquire
  • Alternative Paths
  • Career & Salary
  • Find Jobs
  • Advancement

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Steps to Becoming a Surgeon


If you wish to become a surgeon, there is a long road ahead of you. First you will need to start out in high school with top grades, and a strong aptitude for math and science. You must also have a passion for medicine and the human body. This passion will help you as you work through four years of an undergraduate degree, three years of medical school, and then your residency and subsequent specialty work. You will work very hard during this entire time, but the ultimate satisfaction of becoming a surgeon will pay off in both financial and personal satisfaction.

  • Step 1: Undergraduate Degree in Pre-Med
  • Step 2: MCAT Exam
  • Step 3: Medical School
  • Step 4: Surgical Specialty and Residency

Step 1: Undergraduate Degree in Pre-Med

During your undergraduate years, you need to focus your work on pre-medical studies. Seek out a program that has the curriculum you need to gain admission and achieve success in medical school. After all, medical school admission standards are quite high, and you also must be prepared for success on the MCAT medical school admissions exam.

During your undergraduate years, one of the toughest courses you will take is Organic Chemistry. This is typically a lab science and is often considered a trial by fire for all future doctors. Your other coursework will likely include courses not limited to:

  • General Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Vertebrate Anatomy
  • Medicinal Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Biology

Step 2: MCAT Examination

As you near the end of your Pre-Medical training, you will start preparations for the Medical College Admission Test, otherwise known as the MCAT. Where lawyers have the LSAT that determines where they attend law school, doctors have the MCAT. It is thus imperative that you do as well as possible on this exam. Typically, pre-medical students take the MCAT following their Junior year. This leaves time to apply for medical school in autumn and then receive admission the following spring.

You will want to start preparing for the exam as soon as you can. There are many preparation materials available online, including at Khan Academy. Their free materials are recommended by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the organization that administers the MCAT. Khan’s videos include topics on molecular biology, peptide bonds, Isoelectric point and zwitterions, as well as protein structures and globular proteins.

The MCAT is one of the most difficult admissions tests in the professional world. You might be well served by starting an MCAT study group as soon as you begin a pre-medical program. You can also find outside tutors and tutoring services that can help you prepare. Note that the AAMC maintains ample career resources, including MCAT study materials, on its website.

Step 3: Medical School

No two medical schools are exactly the same. Some offer tracks dedicated to medical technology while others offer a variety of experiential and purely academic enhancements. Your medical school experience will be four years of hard work during which time you will be prepared for your residency. Along the way, you might take courses that include, but are not limited to:

  • Homeostasis, I & II
  • Mind, Brain, and Behavior
  • Professional Development
  • Practice of Medicine
  • Immunity and Disease

Step 4: Surgical Specialty and Residency

You will need to determine your specialty area around the time you complete medical school. If you are determined to be a surgeon, first assess yourself. You must be absolutely certain that you not only have a strong desire to be a surgical professional but that you have the personality that is best suited to that career. This process should begin in your first year of medical school, if not during your pre-medical years.

Once you are certain that you wish to be a surgeon and know precisely which area you wish to focus on, you should find the right residency program that will support your goals. Not only should you find programs that cover your specialty, but you should also find the mentors that will help mold your residency experience in precisely the way you wish.

Once you have completed your residency, you can move onward to find a job as a fully-fledged surgical specialist.

What Does a Surgeon Do?


On a day-to-day basis, your surgical practice will involve a great deal of time in your office, preparing for surgeries. You might spend several hours per week consulting with patients to discuss their case and what they should expect from the surgery. You might discuss potential outcomes, probabilities for success, as well as practical matters such as how much to eat or not eat prior to surgery.

You might spend a good deal of time in consultation with other doctors who have worked on the patients in your caseload. This background information may help you uncover details that are pertinent to their surgical care. You may also need to discuss matters with other surgeons in your specialty area or studying various surgical techniques that may be pertinent to upcoming operations. You also need to stay current with contemporary surgical technologies such as imaging systems, nanotechnology, and other exciting medical advances.

Later in your career, you might work with surgical residents, budding professionals like you are now. Your role as a mentor will be invaluable to them, as they will likely seek you out based on papers you’ve published or your knowledge of certain surgical techniques.

Skills to Acquire


Surgeons need a wide array of skills in their toolkit. You will need a deep background of knowledge of the human body and its biology. In particular, you must be an absolute expert regarding the part of the body that comprises your practice. Thus, if you are a heart surgeon, you must have an intimate knowledge of that organ, just as a neurosurgeon must know the brain.

One of the foremost skills or abilities you must have is a steady hand. You must be able to make very precise cuts into the human body so that you don’t accidentally nick an artery, or puncture a lung, for instance. You should also be able to communicate clearly with the nurses and other professionals you work alongside. Lightning-fast decision making is also imperative, as is a highly nuanced strategic mind that understands how to best open a surgery so that it closes as neatly as possible.

You should also have great skill in diagnosing and analyzing your patients’ conditions. While some may seem routine, each individual will present their own particular anomalies that you must know how to address and work with. In general, you should be able to read diagnostic images such as x-rays, ultrasounds, and MRIs, etc.

Finally, you must be highly skilled in the tools of the operating theater. Items such as scalpels, clamps, and drills, among many others, must be as familiar to you as your own hands. However, your specialty might require more high-tech procedures where you might operate a cutting device by virtual remote control.

Alternative Paths


Though medicine is highly standardized, that does not mean you can’t discover new ways of approaching the field and becoming a surgeon. For instance, you could work though medical school, a non-surgical residency, and practice for several years before hearing a calling to surgery. You might be a general practitioner who discovers a deep fascination with your patients’ cardiac issues and then desire to help others with your surgical acumen.

You can also receive your training in a number of ways. For instance, if you have a desire to both be a surgeon but also serve in the military you can enlist after completing your pre-medical degree. If you qualify, you might have the military foot the bill for your medical school. In return you will probably need to work as a surgeon in a VA hospital, or otherwise serve the military for a certain period of time.

Surgeon Career & Salary


Where Might You Work?


Surgeons most frequently are affiliated with a hospital that houses their surgical theater. You might have your own offices either inside the hospital or nearby, but your employer is likely to be the hospital itself.

On the other hand, you could have a private surgical practice. This is more common for surgeons who perform outpatient procedures. Oral surgeons, plastic surgeons, and ophthalmic practitioners frequently have stand-alone offices. These might be affiliated with larger health systems or hospitals. On the other hand, special circumstances might require that you use a hospital’s special facilities.

While some surgeons perform operations on set schedules, many are called into operate on a moment’s notice. No matter your specialty, you might have patients who experience emergencies and thus call you into surgery immediately. Your gastrointestinal practice might have a patient whose ulcers become inflamed and infected, requiring you to appear, ready to operate, in the middle of the night.

If you enter the military your professional life is bound to be quite different. Surgeons stationed in combat zones face a wide range of injuries that demand immediate attention and sometimes multiple cases arrive all at once, necessitating 24 or more hours in surgery. The television show M*A*S*H might come to mind.

Potential Career Paths


If you decide that you wish to become a surgeon, you will soon discover a myriad of options for your future career. Each choice involves highly specialized training and if you later decide to change your specialty you will need to undergo a whole new residency, which is among the most grueling professional training experiences. To begin the decision process, consider the brief list below, but also take time to discover what part of the body, or what sort of disease, calls to you. Whether your initial motivation comes from a heartfelt emotional story or pure scientific fascination, they are all equally valid. The most important thing is that you be dedicated to your specialty and your patients.

Neurosurgeon:
Frequently called brain surgeons, neurosurgery can involve delicate operations in the brain, but also on the spinal cord or elsewhere in the nervous system. For instance, you could specialize in disorders related to the more peripheral nerves in the legs or hands. Other neurosurgeons specialize in oncology, vascular nerves, epilepsy, or pediatrics.

Plastic Surgeon:
Most often, we think of plastic surgeons as performing elective, cosmetic procedures, such as nose jobs or mole removal. However, if you pursue this field you may also perform reconstructive procedures on patients from dramatic car wrecks, burn victims, or people born with problematic abnormalities that may restrict breathing.

Heart Surgeon:
This field’s surgical procedures are commonly discussed, since heart disease is one of the most common causes of mortality in the United States. You will help people overcome a variety of problems including blockages or murmurs.

Orthopedic Surgeon:
If you broke your arm as a child you might have had an orthopedic surgeon take a look at your case. Most patients require a simple cast, but as an orthopedic surgeon you might be tasked with piecing together bones shattered by high-velocity projectiles, or which have been crushed. Orthopedic surgeons help piece the skeleton back together after injury or replace joints with much-needed prosthetics.

Pediatric Surgeon:
This is an umbrella term for surgeons who operate on children for a variety of reasons. If you are a cardiac specialist, you could further specialize in immature hearts. The same applies to oncology, ophthalmology, and neurology.

Oral Surgeon:
Though you won’t need full medical training for this specialty area, it is worth noting. Your practice will help create healthy mouths for your patients. You could spend your time extracting wisdom teeth, repairing badly damaged mouths after an accident, or replacing teeth with implants.

Ophthalmic Surgeon:
If you are fascinated with one of our most delicate organs, the eye, this is the field for you. You could make a strong practice from restoring vision through the Lasik procedures or you might help patients suffering with cataracts or glaucoma, among a wide range of issues.

Surgeon Career Salaries


OccupationEntry-LevelMid-CareerLate-Career
Cardiac Surgeon$290,000$394,000$484,000
General Surgeon$123,000$292,000$405,000
Neurosurgeon$155,000$418,000$795,00
Oral Surgeon$207,000$227,000$303,000
Orthopedic Surgeon$307,000$388,000$479,000
Pediatric Surgeon$263,000$350,000$245,000
Plastic Surgeon$198,000$269,000$398,000

**Salary info provided by PayScale

Career Outlook


As long as the human race is subject to injury, disease, and old age, we will have a need for surgeons. Given that our population is rapidly aging, the need for surgeons is on the rise. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the need for Physicians and Surgeons will increase by 13% through 2026.

After you endure the rigors of pre-medical school, medical school, and then your residency, you will be happy to find that your pay is quite handsome. In 2017, median pay for physicians and surgeons was $208,000. On top of a fine salary, you and your family will surely enjoy great health benefits, and you might also receive bonus money or other financial incentives though your employer.

TYPES OF SURGEONS: WHAT FIELD OF SURGERY IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

If you are interested in becoming a surgeon, you will first need to become a doctor. Then you will have to decide which of the different types of surgeons you want to be.Thu, 18 Mar 2021Intro Image

Students standing in anatomy lab

The American College of Surgeons recognizes 14 surgical specialties, and within those specialties are several subspecialties—so the options are many. Most surgical specialties concentrate on a certain part of the body, such as the heart (cardiac surgeon) or the arteries and veins (vascular surgeon). Other specialties concentrate on age (pediatric surgeon) or gender (gynecology and obstetrics). Regardless of the specialty, it takes a lot of time and hard work to become a surgeon. Consider all the factors of each specialty, and then choose the one that suits you best. If you are uncertain which path to take, consider these questions:

  • Do you prefer to work with a certain part of the body?
  • Are you intrigued by the musculoskeletal system, the brain, or the eyes?
  • Do you want to work with women and deliver babies? 
  • Are you up for a constantly challenging and evolving career? 
  • Is it your dream to scrub up and enter the operating room?

If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, a career in surgery may be for you. Just choose a specialty path—and choose wisely.
 

MEET A SURGEON

Joel Calafell

Joel Calafell, MD, a 2014 graduate of RUSM, is a Colon and Rectal Surgery Fellow at Lehigh Valley Health Network in Pennsylvania.  We asked Dr. Calafell to describe the role of a surgeon.

Q: Why did you decide to go into your specialty?

A: I love the anatomy of the human body. Surgery gives me the opportunity at truly curing a patient of an ailment, and not just treating it. 

Q: Any advice to medical students considering the specialty?

A: Study hard and get as much exposure as possible. Learn anatomy better than God. 

Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

A: The thanks from a patient after a successful surgery.
 

AN OVERVIEW OF SURGICAL SPECIALTIES

Every physician has some training in surgery and is qualified to perform simple operations. But surgeons—who treat disease, deformities, or injuries by operations—are specially trained to perform complicated procedures. Surgeons must be physically skilled to manipulate surgical tools, and they must have a wide knowledge of anatomy, chemistry, pathology, and physiology. Surgeons must also be able to diagnose problems in patients and care for them before and after the surgery. 

After medical school, doctors must study additional years to qualify as surgeons. Each surgical specialty has its own requirements, boards, and associations. They all begin with a four-year medical (or dental) school—such as the Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM)—followed by residencies and specialty training. You may be wondering: what type of surgeons are there? How many different types of surgeons exist? There are 14 types of surgeons recognized by the American College of Surgeons are: 

  • Cardiothoracic surgery
  • Colon and rectal surgery 
  • General surgery 
  • Gynecology and obstetrics 
  • Gynecologic oncology
  • Neurological surgery
  • Ophthalmic surgery
  • Oral and maxillofacial surgery
  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Pediatric surgery
  • Plastic and maxillofacial surgery
  • Urology
  • Vascular surgery

Each of the surgery specialties are described below, including the commitment it will take to become a surgeon in that area.
 

GENERAL SURGERY

Of all the types of surgeons general surgery includes a broad spectrum of surgical conditions affecting almost any area of the body. A general surgeon makes the diagnosis and provides the preoperative, operative, and post-operative care to patients. General surgeons are often responsible for the comprehensive care of trauma victims and critically ill patients. Surgeons must be capable in nearly all forms of surgery, and they should be able to handle a variety of emergencies and unexpected events in the operating room. Surgeons complete medical school and then five years of general surgery residency. They are certified by the American Board of Surgery, and they may apply for membership in the American College of Surgeons.
 

CARDIOTHORACIC SURGERY

Cardiothoracic surgery includes surgical procedures of the heart, lungs, esophagus, and other organs in the chest. Cardiac surgeons, cardiovascular surgeons, general thoracic surgeons, and congenital heart surgeons are included in this specialty. Cardiothoracic surgeons may perform transplant surgery or treat abnormalities of the great vessels and heart valves. They also treat angina pectoris (heart pain); cancers of the lung, esophagus, and chest wall; congenital anomalies; coronary artery disease; diseases of the diaphragm; heart disease; injuries to the chest; blockage of the airway; and tumors of the mediastinum. Cardiothoracic surgeons have a substantial knowledge of cardiorespiratory physiology and oncology, and they are experts in endoscopy and extracorporeal circulation, the use of cardiac assist devices, and the management of cardiac dysrhythmias, pleural drainage, and respiratory support systems. Cardiothoracic surgeons complete four years of medical school, five years of general surgery residency, and two years of specialty training. Cardiothoracic surgeons are certified by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, and they may apply for membership in The Society of Thoracic Surgeons.
 

COLON AND RECTAL SURGERY

Colon and rectal surgery includes surgical procedures of the anal canal, colon, intestinal tract, perianal area, and rectum. Colon and rectal surgeons also deal with organs and tissues (such as the liver, urinary, and female reproductive systems) involved with primary intestinal disease. A colon and rectal surgeon must diagnose and manage such anorectal conditions as abscesses, constipation, fissures, fistulae, hemorrhoids, and incontinence. Colon and rectal surgeons also treat problems of the intestine and colon and perform endoscopic procedures to detect and treat such conditions of the bowel lining as cancer, inflammation, and precancerous polyps. Colon and rectal surgeons also perform abdominal surgical procedures involving the small bowel, colon, and rectum, including treatment of such inflammatory bowel diseases as chronic ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, and cancer. Colon and rectal specialists have a substantial knowledge of intestinal and anorectal physiology, and they are experts in diseases of the lower gastrointestinal tract. Colon and rectal surgeons complete four years of medical school, five years of general surgery residency, and one year of specialty training. Colon and rectal surgeons are certified by the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery, and they may apply for membership in the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons.
 

GYNECOLOGY AND OBSTETRICS

Gynecology and obstetrics combine to provide care for pregnant women and the delivery of babies, as well as the treatment of conditions of the female reproductive system. Surgeons in obstetrics/ gynecology—OB/GYN—may perform caesarean section or other high-risk childbirths, hysterectomies, in vitro fertilization, reconstructive surgery, or urogynecological surgery. OB/GYN surgeons are experts in all aspects of women’s reproductive physiology. Gynecological and obstetrical surgeons complete four years of medical school and four years of obstetrics and gynecological residency. OB/GYN subspecialties require an additional two to four years of training. OB/GYN’s are certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and they may apply for membership in the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
 

GYNECOLOGICAL ONCOLOGY

Gynecological oncology deals exclusively with cancers of the female reproductive system. Such cancers include cervical, ovarian, uterine, vaginal, and vulvar cancer, as well as rare fallopian tube cancer. Surgeons practicing in this specialty must understand the surgical treatments for these cancers as well as their many different causes, preventions, detections, and survival rates. Surgeons in gynecologic oncology complete four years of medical school, four years of obstetrics and gynecological residency, and two to three years of specialty training. They are certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and may apply for membership in the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists and the Society of Surgical Oncology.
 

NEUROLOGICAL SURGERY

Neurological surgery treats disorders of the central, peripheral, and autonomic nervous systems, including their supporting structures and vascular supply. Neurological surgeons provide such nonoperative management as critical care, diagnosis, evaluation, prevention, and rehabilitation, as well as such procedures as endovascular surgery, functional and restorative surgery, spinal fusion, and stereotactic radiosurgery. Neurosurgeons treat disorders of the brain, the extracranial carotid and vertebral arteries, the meninges, and the skull. Neurosurgeons also treat disorders of the cranial and spinal nerves, the pituitary gland, the spinal cord, and the vertebral column. Neurological surgeons must complete four years of medical school and seven years of neurological surgery residency. Subspecialties require an additional year or two of training. Neurosurgeons are certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgeons and may apply for membership in the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.
 

OPHTHALMIC SURGERY

Ophthalmic surgery treats diseases and disorders of the eyes. Ophthalmologists may provide corrective vision services (eyeglasses or contacts) or perform laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) or photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) surgeries to correct vision problems. They may also operate to treat such disorders as cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, macular degeneration, or strabismus (cross-eyes). Ophthalmic surgeons complete four years of medical school and four years of ophthalmology residency. Such subspecialties as cornea and external disease, ocular oncology, neuro-ophthalmology, or vitreoretinal disease require an additional year or two of training. Ophthalmologists are certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology, and they may apply for membership in the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
 

ORAL AND MAXILLOFACIAL SURGERY

Oral and maxillofacial surgery treats defects, diseases, and injuries of the face, head, jaws, and neck, as well as the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons may correct misaligned jaws, extract wisdom teeth, remove tumors or cysts, or perform dental implant surgery. Such specialists may also administer anesthesia and care of patients in an office setting. Oral and maxillofacial surgery is a dental specialty, so specialists must complete four years of dental school before four to six years of oral and maxillofacial surgery residency (six years includes acquiring a Degree in Medicine). Subspecialties in cosmetic facial surgery, craniofacial surgery and pediatric maxillofacial surgery, cranio-maxillofacial trauma, and head and neck cancer require an additional year or two of training. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and they may apply for membership in the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.
 

ORTHOPEDIC SURGERY

Orthopedic surgery (also spelled orthopaedic surgery) is devoted to the care of the musculoskeletal system—the body’s bones, joints, muscles, associated nerves, arteries, and the overlying skin. Orthopedic surgeons treat such problems as bone fractures, injuries to tendons and ligaments, and deformities of the limbs and spine. An orthopedist may use braces, casts, physical therapy, or splints to treat patients. Orthopedic surgery may be required to treat congenital deformities, degenerative conditions, infections, metabolic disturbances, trauma, and tumors. An orthopedic surgeon’s expertise may also include the surgical treatment of cerebral palsy, paraplegia, or stroke. Because of the wide scope of the musculoskeletal system, orthopedic surgery includes several subspecialties:

  • Hand surgery
  • Sports medicine
  • Pediatric orthopedics
  • Spine surgery
  • Foot and ankle orthopedics
  • Joint replacement
  • Trauma surgery
  • Oncology

Orthopedists complete four years of medical school and five years of orthopedic surgery residency. Subspecialties require an extra year or two of training. Orthopedic surgeons are certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, and they may apply for membership in the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
 

OTOLARYNGOLOGICAL SURGERY

Otolaryngological surgery treats diseases and disorders of the head and neck, including the ears, nose, throat, and related structures. Otolaryngological surgeons—sometimes called ENT (ear, nose, and throat) surgeons—are experts in audiology, the chemical senses, speech-language pathology, and allergy, endocrinology, and neurology as they relate to the head and neck. ENT surgeons also handle head and neck oncology and facial plastic and reconstructive surgery. Otolaryngologists may perform microvascular reconstruction or neurotologic procedures, as well as endoscopy to diagnose and treat sinus disease and laryngeal disease. Otolaryngologist surgeons complete four years of medical school and five years of otolaryngology residency. They are certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology and may apply for membership in the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery.
 

PEDIATRIC SURGERY 

Pediatric surgery treats diseases and conditions in children ranging from newborns to teenagers. Some medical conditions in newborns must be corrected surgically to improve quality of life. These conditions must be recognized by neonatologists, pediatricians, and family physicians. Pediatric surgeons work with these specialists to determine whether surgery is the best option. Pediatric surgeons must then consider how children react to surgery and anesthesia, and how it might affect their growth or development. Pediatric surgery covers a wide spectrum, providing care for all conditions affecting children that require surgical intervention. These conditions may include neonatal or prenatal problems, trauma, or pediatric oncology. Pediatric surgeons complete four years of medical school, five years of general surgery residency, and two years of specialty training. They are certified by the American Board of Surgery, and they may apply for membership in the American Pediatric Association-Surgery Section and the American Pediatric Surgical Association.
 

PLASTIC AND MAXILLOFACIAL SURGERY

Plastic and maxillofacial surgery deals with the repair, replacement, and reconstruction of defects of the form and function of the body covering and its underlying musculoskeletal system. This type of surgery emphasizes the craniofacial structures, the oropharynx, the upper and lower limbs, the breast, and the external genitalia, as well as aesthetic surgery of structures with undesirable form. These types of surgeons must acquire special knowledge and skill in the design and transfer of skin flaps, in the transplantation of tissues, and in the replantation of structures which are vital to the performance of plastic surgery. Skills in excisional surgery, in the management of complex wounds, and in the use of allopathic materials are also required. Plastic surgeons are experts in artistic anatomy, diagnosis, instrumentation, oncology, pathology, physiology, and surgical design, as well as bacteriology, biomechanics, embryology, and pharmacology. Plastic and maxillofacial surgeons complete four years of medical school and six years of specialized residency. Such subspecialties as cosmetic, hand, or craniomaxillofacial trauma and reconstructive surgery require an additional year or two of training. Plastic and maxillofacial surgeons are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, and they may apply for membership in the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and related professional societies.
 

UROLOGICAL SURGERY

Vascular surgery treats diseases and disorders of the arteries and veins in all parts of the body but the brain and heart. Vascular surgeons most often treat atherosclerosis—hardening of the arteries—but they also treat peripheral vascular disease in the legs and feet, aneurysms and blood clots in the arteries and veins, and strokes caused by blockages or narrowing of the arteries in the neck. Beyond the operating room, vascular surgeons treat many patients by recommending dietary changes, medication, or exercise. Vascular surgeons are also skilled at the early diagnosis of potential stroke victims and in post-operative care. Vascular surgeons complete four years of medical school, five years of general surgery residency, and two years of vascular training. They are certified by the American Board of Vascular Medicine, and they may apply for membership in the Society for Vascular Surgery.

Urological surgery deals with disorders of the adrenal gland and of the genitourinary system. Urologists perform endoscopic, percutaneous, and open surgery of congenital and acquired conditions of the reproductive and urinary systems and their contiguous structures. They may treat dysfunction, inflammatory diseases, malignancies, or obstructions, and their expertise covers general urology as well as andrology, endourology, female urology, pediatric urology, and oncology. Urological surgeons complete four years of medical school and five or six years of urological surgery residency. They are certified by the American Board of Urology, and they may apply for membership in the American Urological Association.
 

VASCULAR SURGERY

No matter which of these surgeon specialties appeals to you most, the Ross University School of Medicine is a good place to start. RUSM has a strong history of placing graduating students in medical residencies. In 2020, RUSM’s 2019-2020 first-time residency attainment rate was 95 percent. Take the next step on your path to becoming a surgeon: apply for admission to RUSM.

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