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Surgeons are the medical professionals who specialise in the treatment of patients through invasive operations, in order to repair injuries and deformities, correct, remove or replace faulty organs and generally work to improve the health of the patient. There are also an increasing number of cosmetic surgeons, or ‘plastic’ surgeons, who specialise in the improvement of a patient’s aesthetic appearance.
As with all medical professionals, their primary responsibility is to identify, diagnose and treat problems experienced by patients through a variety of examinations, tests, medical procedures and prescription of medication. It is also their job to ensure that the patient is fully aware of courses of treatment and procedures available to them so that they can play a role in, and have some control over, the care they receive.
They will usually be expected to attend lectures and seminars in order to further professional development.
Some surgeons work on-call, responding to calls from patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Most surgeons specialise in one or more specific areas of human anatomy such as cardiac surgery, neurosurgery or orthopaedic surgery. See Specialisms.