In medicine, a surgeon is a physician who performs surgical
operations. There are also surgeons in podiatry, dentistry and the
2 Titles in the Commonwealth
3 Military titles
5 Pioneer surgeons
6 Organizations and fellowships
Islamic Golden Age
Islamic Golden Age physician widely considered one of
the '"Fathers of Modern Surgery"
The first person to document a surgery was the 6th Century BC Indian
physician-surgeon, Sushruta. He specialised in cosmetic plastic
surgery and had documented even an operation of open rhinoplasty.
His magnum opus Suśruta-saṃhitā is one of the most important
surviving ancient treatises on medicine and is considered a
foundational text of Ayurveda and surgery. The treatise addresses all
aspects of general medicine, but the translator G. D. Singhal dubbed
Suśruta "the father of surgical intervention" on account of the
extraordinarily accurate and detailed accounts of surgery to be found
in the work.
After the eventual decline of
Sushruta School of
Medicine in India,
surgery had been largely ignored until the
Islamic Golden Age
Islamic Golden Age surgeon
Al-Zahrawi (936-1013), reestablished surgery as an effective medical
practice. He is considered the greatest medieval surgeon to have
appeared from the Islamic World, and has been described as the father
of surgery. His greatest contribution to medicine is the Kitab
al-Tasrif, a thirty-volume encyclopedia of medical practices. He
was the first physician to describe an ectopic pregnancy, and the
first physician to identify the hereditary nature of haemophilia.
His pioneering contributions to the field of surgical procedures and
instruments had an enormous impact on surgery but it was not until the
nineteenth century that surgery as a distinct medical discipline
emerged in Europe and the Western world..
In Europe, surgery was mostly associated with barber-surgeons who also
used their hair-cutting tools to undertake surgical procedures, often
at the battlefield and also for their royal paymasters. With advances
in medicine and physiology, the professions of barbers and surgeons
diverged; by the 19th century barber-surgeons had virtually
disappeared, and surgeons were almost invariably qualified doctors who
had specialized in surgery.
Surgeon continued, however, to be used as
the title for military medical officers until the end of the 19th
century, and the title of
Surgeon General continues to exist for both
senior military medical officers and senior government public health
Titles in the Commonwealth
In 1950, the
Royal College of Surgeons of England
Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCS) in London
began to offer surgeons a formal status via RCS membership. The title
Mister became a badge of honour, and today, in many Commonwealth
countries, a qualified doctor who, after at least four years'
training, obtains a surgical qualification (formerly Fellow of the
Royal College of Surgeons, but now also Member of the Royal College of
Surgeons or a number of other diplomas) is given the honour of being
allowed to revert to calling themselves Mr, Miss,
Mrs or Ms in the
course of their professional practice, but this time the meaning is
different. It is sometimes assumed that the change of title implies
consultant status (and some mistakenly think non-surgical consultants
are Mr too), but the length of postgraduate medical training outside
North America is such that a qualified surgeon may be years away from
obtaining such a post: many doctors previously obtained these
qualifications in the senior house officer grade, and remained in that
grade when they began sub-specialty training. The distinction of Mr
(etc.) is also used by surgeons in the Republic of Ireland, some
states of Australia, Barbados, New Zealand, South Africa, Zimbabwe,
and some other Commonwealth countries.
In many English-speaking countries the military title of surgeon is
applied to any medical practitioner, due to the historical evolution
of the term. The US Army Medical Corps retains various surgeon MOS' in
the ranks of officer pay grades for military personnel dedicated to
performing surgery on wounded soldiers.
The Gross Clinic, 1875,
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia Museum of Art and the
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
Cardiac surgery (in the United States considered part of
Colon and rectal surgery
Upper gastrointestinal surgery
Oral and maxillofacial surgery
Obstetrics and gynaecology
Thoracic surgery (in the United States considered part of
Some physicians who are general practitioners or specialists in family
medicine or emergency medicine may perform limited ranges of minor,
common, or emergency surgery.
Anesthesia often accompanies surgery,
and anesthesiologists and nurse anesthetists may oversee this aspect
of surgery. Surgeon's assistant, surgical nurses, surgical
technologists are trained professionals who support surgeons.
In the United States, the Department of Labor description of a surgeon
is "a physician who treats diseases, injuries, and deformities by
invasive, minimally-invasive, or non-invasive surgical methods, such
as using instruments, appliances, or by manual manipulation".
Nikolay Pirogov - a pioneer of field surgery
Victor Horsley pioneered neurosurgery
Further information: List of surgeons
Sushruta (the first to document an operation of open rhinoplasty)
Charles Kelman (Invented phacoemulsification, the technique of modern
William Stewart Halsted
William Stewart Halsted (initiated surgical residency training in
U.S., pioneer in many fields)
Alfred Blalock (first modern day successful open heart surgery in
C. Walton Lillehei (labeled "Father of modern day open heart surgery")
Christiaan Barnard (cardiac surgery, first heart transplantation)
Victor Chang Australian pioneer of heart transplantation
John Hunter (Scottish, viewed as the father of modern surgery,
performed hundreds of dissections, served as the model for Dr.
Victor Horsley (neurosurgery)
Lars Leksell (neurosurgery, inventor of radiosurgery)
Joseph Lister (discoverer of surgical sepsis,
Listerine named in his
Harvey Cushing (pioneer, and often considered the father of, modern
Paul Tessier (French Surgeon, Father of Craniofacial surgery)
Gholam A. Peyman (Inventor of LASIK,)
Ioannis Pallikaris (Greek surgeon. Performed the first
on a human eye. Developed Epi-LASIK.)
Nikolay Pirogov (the founder of field surgery)
Valery Shumakov (pioneer of artificial organs implantation)
Svyatoslav Fyodorov (creator of radial keratotomy)
Gazi Yasargil (Turkish neurosurgeon, founder of microneurosurgery)
Rene Favaloro (first surgeon to perform bypass surgery)
Michael R. Harrison (pioneer of fetal surgery)
Michael DeBakey (educator and innovator in the field of cardiac
Fidel Pagés (pioneer of epidural anesthesia)
Wilder Penfield (neurosurgery)
Harold Gillies (pioneer of plastic surgery)
Maria Siemionow (pioneer of near-total face transplant surgery)
Organizations and fellowships
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Surgeons.
^ a b Ira D. Papel, John Frodel, Facial Plastic and Reconstructive
^ Singhal, G. D. (1972). Diagnostic considerations in ancient Indian
surgery: (based on Nidāna-Sthāna of Suśruta Saṁhitā). Varanasi:
^ Ahmad, Z. (St Thomas' Hospital) (2007), "
Al-Zahrawi - The Father of
Surgery", ANZ Journal of Surgery, 77 (Suppl. 1): A83,
^ al-Zahrāwī, Abū al-Qāsim Khalaf ibn ʻAbbās; Studies, Gustave
E. von Grunebaum Center for Near Eastern (1973). Albucasis on surgery
and instruments. University of California Press.
ISBN 978-0-520-01532-6. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
^ a b Cosman, Madeleine Pelner; Jones, Linda Gale (2008). Handbook to
Life in the Medieval World. Handbook to Life Series. 2. Infobase
Publishing. pp. 528–530. ISBN 0-8160-4887-8.
^ "Patients: The Surgical Team: Qualifications of a surgeon". Royal
College of Surgeons of England. Retrieved 13 June 2015.
^ "Occupational Employment Statistic: Occupational Employment and
Wages, May 2015: 29-1067 Surgeons". www.bls.gov. Retrieved
^ US Patent 4,840,175, "METHOD FOR MODIFYING CORNEAL CURVATURE",
granted June 20, 1989
^ "A Look at
LASIK Past, Present and Future". 1 June 2009.
^ "When Cornea Transplants Fail. What Next?"