Surgeons repairing a ruptured Achilles tendon on a man

Surgery[a] is a medical specialty that uses operative manual and instrumental techniques on a patient to investigate or treat a pathological condition such as a disease or injury, to help improve bodily function or appearance or to repair unwanted ruptured areas.

The act of performing surgery may be called a surgical procedure, operation, or simply "surgery". In this context, the verb "operate" means to perform surgery. The adjective surgical means pertaining to surgery; e.g. surgical instruments or surgical nurse. The patient or subject on which the surgery is performed can be a person or an animal. A surgeon is a person who practices surgery and a surgeon's assistant is a person who practices surgical assistance. A surgical team is made up of surgeon, surgeon's assistant, anaesthetist, circulating nurse and surgical technologist. Surgery usually spans minutes to hours, but it is typically not an ongoing or periodic type of treatment. The term "surgery" can also refer to the place where surgery is performed, or, in British English, simply the office of a physician,[1] dentist, or veterinarian.


Surgery is a technology consisting of a physical intervention on tissues.

As a general rule, a procedure is considered surgical when it involves cutting of a patient's tissues or closure of a previously sustained wound. Other procedures that do not necessarily fall under this rubric, such as angioplasty or endoscopy, may be considered surgery if they involve "common" surgical procedure or settings, such as use of a sterile environment, anesthesia, antiseptic conditions, typical surgical instruments, and suturing or stapling. All forms of surgery are considered invasive procedures; so-called "noninvasive surgery" usually refers to an excision that does not penetrate the structure being excised (e.g. laser ablation of the cornea) or to a radiosurgical procedure (e.g. irradiation of a tumor).

Types of surgery

Surgical procedures are commonly categorized by urgency, type of procedure, body system involved, the degree of invasiveness, and special instrumentation.

  • Based on timing: Elective surgery is done to correct a non-life-threatening condition, and is carried out at the patient's request, subject to the surgeon's and the surgical facility's availability. A semi-elective surgery is one that must be done to avoid permanent disability or death, but can be postponed for a short time. Emergency surgery is surgery which must be done promptly to save life, limb, or functional capacity.
  • Based on purpose: Exploratory surgery is performed to aid or confirm a diagnosis. Therapeutic surgery treats a previously diagnosed condition. Cosmetic surgery is done to subjectively improve the appearance of an otherwise normal structure.
  • By type of procedure: Amputation involves cutting off a body part, usually a limb or digit; castration is also an example. Resection is the removal of all of an internal organ or body part, or a key part (lung lobe; liver quadrant) of such an organ or body part that has its own name or code designation. Excision is the cutting out or removal of only part of an organ, tissue, or other body part from the patient. Replantation involves reattaching a severed body part. Reconstructive surgery involves reconstruction of an injured, mutilated, or deformed part of the body. Transplant surgery is the replacement of an organ or body part by insertion of another from different human (or animal) into the patient. Removing an organ or body part from a live human or animal for use in transplant is also a type of surgery.
  • By body part: When surgery is performed on one organ system or structure, it may be classed by the organ, organ system or tissue involved. Examples include cardiac surgery (performed on the heart), gastrointestinal surgery (performed within the digestive tract and its accessory organs), and orthopedic surgery (performed on bones or muscles).
  • By degree of invasiveness of surgical procedures: Minimally-invasive surgery involves smaller outer incision(s) to insert miniaturized instruments within a body cavity or structure, as in laparoscopic surgery or angioplasty. By contrast, an open surgical procedure such as a laparotomy requires a large incision to access the area of interest.
  • By equipment used: Laser surgery involves use of a laser for cutting tissue instead of a scalpel or similar surgical instruments. Microsurgery involves the use of an operating microscope for the surgeon to see small structures. Robotic surgery makes use of a surgical robot, such as the Da Vinci or the ZEUS robotic surgical systems , to control the instrumentation under the direction of the surgeon.


  • Excision surgery names often start with a name for the organ to be excised (cut out) and end in -ectomy.
  • Procedures involving cutting into an organ or tissue end in -otomy. A surgical procedure cutting through the abdominal wall to gain access to the abdominal cavity is a laparotomy.
  • Minimally invasive procedures, involving small incisions through which an endoscope is inserted, end in -oscopy. For example, such surgery in the abdominal cavity is called laparoscopy.
  • Procedures for formation of a permanent or semi-permanent opening called a stoma in the body end in -ostomy.
  • Reconstruction, plastic or cosmetic surgery of a body part starts with a name for the body part to be reconstructed and ends in -oplasty. Rhino is used as a prefix for "nose", therefore a rhinoplasty is reconstructive or cosmetic surgery for the nose.
  • Repair of damaged or congenital abnormal structure ends in -rraphy.
  • Reoperation (return to the operating room) refers to a return to the operating theater after an initial surgery is performed to re-address an aspect of patient care best treated surgically. Reasons for reoperation include persistent bleeding after surgery, development of or persistence of infection.
Other Languages
Afrikaans: Chirurgie
العربية: جراحة
ܐܪܡܝܐ: ܥܨܒܘܬܐ
asturianu: Ciruxía
azərbaycanca: Cərrahiyyə
Bân-lâm-gú: Goā-kho-ha̍k
беларуская: Хірургія
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Хірургія
भोजपुरी: आपरेसन
български: Хирургия
bosanski: Hirurgija
català: Cirurgia
čeština: Chirurgie
dansk: Kirurgi
Deutsch: Chirurgie
eesti: Kirurgia
Ελληνικά: Χειρουργική
español: Cirugía
Esperanto: Kirurgio
euskara: Kirurgia
فارسی: جراحی
français: Chirurgie
Gaeilge: Máinliacht
galego: Cirurxía
한국어: 외과
hrvatski: Kirurgija
Bahasa Indonesia: Bedah
interlingua: Chirurgia
íslenska: Uppskurður
italiano: Chirurgia
עברית: כירורגיה
Jawa: Bedhah
ქართული: ქირურგია
қазақша: Хирургия
Kiswahili: Upasuaji
kurdî: Niştergerî
Кыргызча: Хирургия
Latina: Chirurgia
latviešu: Ķirurģija
lietuvių: Chirurgija
Limburgs: Chirurgie
Lingua Franca Nova: Sirurjia
magyar: Sebészet
македонски: Хирургија
Bahasa Melayu: Pembedahan
Minangkabau: Badah
монгол: Мэс засал
Nederlands: Chirurgie
नेपाली: शल्यक्रिया
नेपाल भाषा: शल्यचिकित्सा
日本語: 外科学
norsk: Kirurgi
norsk nynorsk: Kirurgi
occitan: Cirurgia
олык марий: Хирургий
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Xirurgiya
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਸਰਜਰੀ
پښتو: جراحي
Plattdüütsch: Chirurgie
polski: Chirurgia
português: Cirurgia
română: Chirurgie
Runa Simi: Runa kuchuy
русский: Хирургия
संस्कृतम्: शल्यचिकित्सा
shqip: Kirurgjia
sicilianu: Chirurgìa
Simple English: Surgery
slovenčina: Chirurgia
slovenščina: Kirurgija
српски / srpski: Хирургија
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Kirurgija
suomi: Kirurgia
svenska: Kirurgi
Tagalog: Pagtistis
Türkçe: Cerrahi
українська: Хірургія
اردو: جراحت
Tiếng Việt: Ngoại khoa
Võro: Kirurgia
Winaray: Siruhiya
ייִדיש: כירורגיע
粵語: 外科
中文: 外科学