General Surgery | Surgical Associates of Grinnell

General Surgery

Picture of the General Surgery team including Dr. Coster and Dr. Severidt.






Dr. David Coster and Dr. Mathew Severidt comprise the general surgery team at Surgical Associates, LLP

What is General Surgery?

General Surgery is a surgical specialty that includes the surgical treatment of a broad spectrum of diseases for medical procedures on all organ systems in the body.

After completion of medical school, the General Surgeon must complete five years of intensive training in an approved surgical residency program, rotating through surgical specialty areas such as:

  • Trauma and critical care 
  • Burns 
  • Plastics 
  • Hepatobiliary 
  • Colorectal 
  • Oncology 
  • Thoracics 
  • Endocrine 
  • Head and neck 
  • Gynecology 
  • Vascular 
  • Transplantation 
  • Orthopedics 
  • Neurosurgery 

Afterward, he/she may choose to practice in this broad specialty or may sub-specialize into areas such as heart surgery, neurosurgery, plastic surgery, hand surgery, trauma, and critical care, and others, thus confining his/her practice to a smaller niche.

Most General Surgeons adapt their surgical practice to the hospital and community in which they work, narrowing or broadening their surgical field depending upon the needs of the patients and doctors in their community. A General Surgeon in a large urban area may choose to sub-specialize in and treat only diseases of a single organ or organ system (such as breast, liver, stomach, pancreas, esophagus) due to a large demand for such focused medical expertise. In other settings, the General Surgeon may need to maintain a very broad practice focusing on many organ systems and surgical sub-specialty areas.

Usually, the broadly focused General Surgeon is an expert in the surgical treatment of all abdominal diseases and medical procedures having to do with cancer of the various abdominal organs and diseases of the stomach, liver, pancreas, gall bladder, spleen, small intestine, large intestine, appendix, rectum, anus, and soft tissues such as muscle and skin. Trauma and accidental injuries, breast cancer, thyroid diseases, and arterial and venous diseases are usually also included in the General Surgeon's practice.

In some hospitals, the General Surgeon may also be an expert in the surgical treatment of diseases of the ovary, uterus, and bladder and may perform C-sections and take care of complications associated with childbirth. General Surgeons may also perform surgeries or operations of the lung and esophagus, head and neck, and kidney and ureters.


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