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Getting specific about general surgery

Sometimes medical specialties can be confusing and it might not always be clear what service a specific doctor provides. For example, there are a lot of different types of surgeons: plastic surgeons, vascular surgeons, orthopedic surgeons, cardiologists and more! With some of these, it’s pretty obvious what operations they perform since the titles themselves are so specific. But with so many specialized surgeons covering what seems to be every part of the body, you might be left wondering where a general surgeon fits into the mix.

We think the role of a general surgeon is best explained by our very own team of surgeons. Dr. Warnsby describes the difference between specialties by saying, “Orthopedic surgeons work mostly with bone and muscle. Plastic surgeons do reconstruction or cosmetic surgery. General surgeons do more with internal organs or soft tissue.” Dr. Gordon describes general surgery as anything between the chin and the hip, listing thyroid disease, breast cancer, pancreatic and stomach issues as some of the common conditions they treat.

Additionally, Dr. Burtrum says, “General surgeons take care of the pathology that’s occurring in the abdomen and skin. We take care of taking out tissues that are either not working well or abnormal, and send it to the lab to be analyzed.” All of our general surgeons agree that this is a highly rewarding field of work because they often have the privilege of seeing drastic improvements in their patients soon after surgery.

General surgeons perform a wide array of procedures, some of which include:

Laparoscopic Surgery

  • Gall Bladder surgery
  • Hernia repair
  • Appendectomy
  • Anti-reflux procedures
  • Colon/intestinal surgery
  • Diagnostic laparoscopy

Hernia Surgery

  • Inguinal hernia
  • Umbilical hernia
  • Incisional hernia
  • Hiatal hernia

Abdominal Surgery

  • Colon cancer
  • Advanced abdominal wall hernia repair
  • Diverticulitis
  • Stomach surgery


  • Minimally invasive breast biopsy techniques; stereotactic or ultrasound guided
  • Surgery for breast diseases and cancer including lumpectomy, sentinel lymph node biopsy, mastectomy and axillary node dissection


  • Colonoscopy
  • Colonoscopy with biopsy and/or polypectomy
  • Upper endoscopy (EGD) with biopsy/dilatation


  • Thyroid

Body Wall

  • Cysts
  • Lumps
  • Skin moles/lesions


  • Hernias
  • Appendectomy

Gynecologic Surgery

  • Tubal ligation
  • Hysterectomy
  • Oophorectomy

Now that you have a better idea of what a general surgeon does, why specifically should you choose Oaklawn Medical Group – General Surgical Associates for your next procedure? It’s definitely a big bonus that they perform surgeries in our state-of-the-art Rob Covert Surgical Center of Excellence. And, as Dr. Warnsby says, “At Oaklawn, you have that personal touch that you don’t get at larger facilities. Oaklawn has a culture where it’s more of a family, and with a lot of the people who work here, it’s their calling and more than just a profession.”

Click here to learn more about general surgery at Oaklawn.

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