General surgeons are expertly trained to take care of you when you have specific surgical problems, especially those involving the abdomen.
The term “general surgery” is somewhat of a misnomer. Our general surgeons are anything but generalists. They are highly skilled at performing specific surgical procedures to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy.
Read on to learn more about the field of general surgery, the types of services our general surgery team offers, and what to do if you are anticipating surgery.
General surgery is a surgical discipline devoted to the comprehensive care of nine surgical categories, including the digestive tract, abdomen, breasts, head and neck, vascular system, endocrine system, surgical oncology, trauma, and critical illness. According to testimony by the American College of Surgeons (ACS), general surgeons “often set the standard of surgical care in a community.”
“General Surgery” Procedures
Our general surgeons at Lompoc Health can help people with their surgical needs across the lifespan. They perform the following procedures:
- Appendectomy (removal of the appendix, commonly done to treat appendicitis)
- Cholecystectomy (removal of the gallbladder, commonly done to treat infections)
- Colon resection/colectomy (removal of the colon, or redirection of the colon)
- Hemorrhoidectomy (removal of hemorrhoid)
- Postoperative procedures
- Skin lesions/cyst removals
General surgeons perform a majority of surgeries in the abdomen. Therefore, a more appropriate way to think of a general surgeon may be to think of them as an “abdominal surgeon.”
Anyone can be a candidate for general surgery, from children to older adults. General surgeons are qualified to perform surgeries on everyone.
Some general surgeries are considered “elective,” meaning that you may know ahead of time that you will be having the surgery, and it is scheduled in advance. However, some general surgeries are more emergent, as can be the case in an appendectomy. You may not know that you need surgery during a surgical emergency until your diagnosis is uncovered by your clinic doctor or in the emergency room. In these cases, you may have just a few hours between your surgical diagnosis and your surgery.
Before and After General Surgery
It can feel overwhelming to be told that you need to have surgery. At Lompoc Valley Medical Center, we understand that navigating the surgical process can be daunting. This is why our general surgeons, and our staff members who support them, will help you make sense of the process, answer as many questions as you need, and provide support throughout the surgical journey.
Preoperative Consultation (“Pre-Op”)
If you have elective surgery, you will meet beforehand with your general surgeon and discuss the upcoming procedure. During this appointment, you will learn about the procedure and what you will need to prepare. Your surgeon will often guide what kinds of activities you should or should not do the day before the surgery, including when to eat, bathe, and take your medications. It may make you feel less anxious if you come to your pre-op appointment with a prepared list of questions.
Even if you are having a more emergent surgery, you will still usually have the opportunity to meet your surgeon before the procedure and ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable.
Postoperative Consultation (“Post-Op”)
After your surgery, you will have at least one more visit with your surgeon to review your procedure and assess your healing progress. Surgery can be painful, and our general surgeons will help you manage any pain so that you can rest properly and fully recover.
Your surgeon will also screen for signs of post-operative problems such as fever or inflammation around your surgical site. If you are experiencing other post-op symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, problems swallowing, chest pain, or calf pain, don’t wait until your post-op appointment to discuss them. Call 911 immediately or reach your surgeon after hours by calling (805)-875-1508.