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38 Cool & Interesting Facts About Surgeons (Orthopedic, Plastic, Pediatric, General)

What are the top interesting facts about surgeons?


Surgeons diagnose, manage, and provide treatments to help sufferers manage diseases in the vascular system, breast, endocrine system, head and neck, digestive tract, and soft tissues.

These professionals can train toward becoming general surgeons, or they can choose a specialization, like – neurological, orthopedic, plastic, pediatric, cardiovascular surgery.

38 Cool & Interesting Facts About Surgeons (Orthopedic, Plastic, Pediatric, General) and Surgery:


1) The term ”orthopedia” is a composite of 2 Greek words – ”orthos,” translating as “straight and free from deformity,” and ”paidios,” translating as “child.”

2) The term orthopedics was first coined in 1741 by Nicholas André, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of the College de France.

3) Orthopedic surgeons use both nonsurgical and surgical means to treat spine diseases, musculoskeletal trauma, degenerative diseases, sports injuries, tumors, infections, and congenital disorders.

4) Hippocrates described orthopedic surgery as maneuvers for stretching scoliotic spines and treating congenital club feet.

5) In 1839, Thomas Dent Mutter, a Professor of Surgery at Jefferson, issued a monograph of 104-pages on clubfoot. In his textbook of Operations of Surgery, Thomas Dent Mutter devoted 4 out of 19 chapters to injuries of muscles and tendons, amputations, ankylosis, contractions of the leg and thigh, and clubfoot.

6) Paul Randall Harrington is one of the most well known orthopedic surgeons. He invented ”the Harrington Rod,” a medical device that has helped over 1 million people. The device is designed to help straighten the spine and keep it immobilized.

7) In 2017, Anthony Murray had become Australia’s first indigenous orthopedic surgeon.


8) Plastic surgery is a surgical specialty involving the reconstruction, restoration, or alteration of the physical body.

9) The history of plastic surgery goes as far back as 2000 B.C.

10) In ancient India, a healer known as Sushruta wrote a medical text which provides thorough descriptions of diagnoses, examinations, treatments, and procedures involving many different ailments. In his medical book, it is mentioned that plastic surgeries were in existence in India during the 6th century BC.

11) This was very useful in ancient India, due to the fact that during that time, the penal system decreed nose amputation as a punishment for adultery.

12) From around the 1st century BC, the Romans performed plastic cosmetic surgery. They were able to perform simple techniques, like – repairing damaged ears.

13) In the 15th Century, an Islamic medical text was written on eyelid surgery, maxillofacial surgery, and a protocol for the treatment of gynecomastia (an endocrine system disorder in which a non-cancerous increase in the size of male breast tissue occurs) which is considered the foundation of modern-day surgical breast reduction.

14) The title of “father of plastic surgery” has been bestowed on both Harold Gillies (a 19th-century surgeon from New Zealand) and Gaspare Tagliacozzi (an Italian surgeon from the 16th century).

15) Movie star Mary Pickford falls victim to early face-lifts of the era and is left unable to smile in 1930.

16) During World War I and World War II, plastic surgery was required for many soldiers and ordinary people. Plastic surgeons were required to treat and reconstruct extensive injuries, like – fractures, open face injuries as well as blown-off lips or noses.

17) In 1946, the first medical journal for plastic surgery was published, that increased communication about new developments in the medical community.

18) An otolaryngologist from New Zealand, named Sir Harold Gillies, performs the very first male-to-female sex-change operation in 1951.

19) Dr. Cronin created a new breast implant device produced from silicone in 1962. Over the next years, these breast implants have been used in various parts of the human body.

20) In 1989, 16-year-old star Tori Spelling receives a rhinoplasty.

21) In 2010, during a 4-hour operation, Spanish plastics surgeons complete the world’s first full-face transplant on a 31-year-old.

22) Presently, plastic surgeons use skin grafts to restore areas where surgical intervention has created a loss of skin as well as to restore areas that have lost protective layers of tissue due to infection, trauma, or burns.

23) In 2018, South Korea is the plastic surgery capital of the world.


24) Pediatric surgery is a subspecialty of surgery involving the surgery of infants, developing fetuses, adolescents, children, and young adults.

25) The pediatric subspecialty areas include:

  • urology;
  • plastic surgery;
  • otolaryngology – neck and head surgery;
  • orthopedic surgery;
  • neurosurgery;
  • general surgery;
  • cardiac surgery.

26) William Edwards Ladd was an American surgeon and is often regarded as one of the founders of pediatric surgery.

27) The essence of pediatric surgery was underscored by Percivall Potts, who noted that “the satisfaction of correcting a deformity in a newborn infant lies in the fact that all his life lies before him.”

28) Dr. Burton Kushner is a pediatric ophthalmologist who pioneered corticosteroid treatment in order to treat periocular capillary hemangioma (common benign vascular tumors which present early in childhood).

29) Dr. Harrison performed the 1st open fetal surgery in order to correct an advanced urinary tract obstruction in 1981.


30) General surgery is a discipline of surgery having a central core of knowledge embracing physiology, anatomy, immunology, metabolism, pathology, nutrition, wound healing, intensive care, resuscitation, and neoplasia.

31) The history of surgical procedures reaches back to the Neolithic. For instance, the first evidence of a surgical procedure is that of a small hole in the head.

This medical procedure was practiced as early as 3000 BC and continued through the Middle Ages.

32) In ancient Greece, wounds were soaked in wine to prevent infection. Moreover, the Greeks could perform amputations and set broken bones.

33) Surgeons of the middle ages were commonly barber-surgeons who perform minor procedures, including bloodletting, tooth extraction, and treating war wounds.

34) John Hunter, a Scottish surgeon (1728-1793), taught his students that a surgical operation was the last resort and an admission that other methods had failed.

35) ”Edwin Smith Papyrus” is a document that is thought to have been composed by Imhotep (an Egyptian chancellor to the pharaoh Djoser). Many scholars recognize ”Edwin Smith Papyrus” as the oldest surgical textbook.

36) In 1897, Jan Mikulicz was the first to use a surgical mask.

37) William Halsted first introduced the use of rubber gloves to help prevent infection. The first disposable latex medical gloves were manufactured in 1964 by Ansell.

38) In the present day, at least 50 million operations are done in the US every year. According to the data, the average American can expect to undergo 7 operations during her or his lifetime.

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Surgeons usually need:

  • a bachelor’s degree;
  • a degree from a medical school (takes 4 years to complete);
  • 3 to 7 years in internship and residency programs.

Job Description

Typical surgeon duties may include:

  • performing administrative duties;
  • writing to GPs about patients’ treatments and conditions;
  • carrying out ward rounds to check the state and progress of patients;
  • performing pre-booked or emergency operations as part of a team;
  • arranging X-rays and taking tests;
  • explaining procedures and risks involved to the sufferer;
  • meeting patients before the operation to decide on the best course of action.

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How Much Money Do Surgeons Earn?

In 2016, the median salary of a surgeon was around $208,000 per year. In 2017, the median salary was more than $272,129 per year.

In 2020, the national average salary for a General Surgeon is $300k in the US.

Neurological surgeons usually top the salary list, averaging nearly $702,000 per year. Orthopedic surgeons have a median salary of $526,400 per year.

Featured image credit – Shutterstock

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