Surgeon  What They Do

Just the Facts


Surgeons Career Video



Treats diseases, injuries, and deformities by invasive, minimally-invasive, or non-invasive surgical methods, such as using instruments, appliances, or by manual manipulation.

This career is part of the Health Science cluster Therapeutic Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Follows established surgical techniques during the operation.
  • Examines patients to gather information on their medical condition and surgical risk.
  • Operates on patients to correct deformities, repairs injuries, prevents and treats diseases, or improves or restores patients' functions.
  • Analyzes patient's medical history, medication allergies, physical condition, and examinations results to verify operation's necessity and to determine best procedure.
  • Prescribes preoperative and postoperative treatments and procedures, such as sedatives, diets, antibiotics, and preparation and treatment of the patient's operative area.
  • Diagnoses bodily disorders and orthopedic conditions and provides treatments, such as medicines and surgeries, in clinics, hospital wards, and operating rooms.
  • Provides consultation and surgical assistance to other physicians and surgeons.
  • Directs and coordinates the activities of nurses, assistants, specialists, and other medical staff.
  • Refers patients to medical specialists or other practitioners when necessary.
  • Prepares case histories.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposed to disease and infections more than once a month through work such as patient care, laboratory work, and sanitation control
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves use of special protective items such as a breathing apparatus, safety harness, full protection suit, or radiation protection
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Overtime work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Heart Surgeon -- Performs surgery on the primary blood vessels of the heart and the heart itself.
  • Neurosurgeon -- Performs surgery on the spine and brain.
  • Ophthalmic Surgeon -- Diagnoses conditions ranging from cataracts and glaucoma to astigmatism and cancer and then treats those conditions with surgery and medication.
  • Orthopedic Surgeon -- Treats injuries to the musculoskeletal system, like arthritis or a broken bone.
  • Physician -- Diagnoses and treats diseases, injuries, and other disorders and work to promote good health and prevent illness.
  • Reconstructive Surgeon -- Restores, corrects or changes the form or function of the body or parts of the body for therapeutic or aesthetic reasons.
  • Surgical Oncologist -- Specializes in the surgical management of malignant disease, such as cancer.
  • Transplant Surgeon -- Transplants or moves organs from one human being to another so that the recipient can live a longer, healthier life.