College of Medicine and Life Sciences - Office of Student Affairs (OSA)

Medical Career Advising Resources Project

Specialty Interviews

General Surgery - Dr. Zelenock

Contact: Dr. Zelenock | | (419) 383-6298

Professional Description

General surgery is a discipline that requires knowledge of and familiarity with a broad spectrum of diseases that may require surgical treatment.  By necessity, the breadth and depth of this knowledge varies by disease category.  In most areas, the surgeon is expected to be competent in diagnosing and treating the full spectrum of disease.  However, there are some types of disease in which comprehensive knowledge and experience is not gained in the course of a standard surgical residency.  In these areas, the surgeon is able to recognize and treat a select group of conditions within a disease category.

Residency training in general surgery requires experience in all of the following content areas:

  • Abdomen and its contents
  • Alimentary tract
  • Breast, skin, and soft tissue
  • Endocrine system
  • Organ transplantation
  • Pediatric surgery
  • Surgical critical care
  • Surgical oncology
  • Trauma/burns and acute care surgery
  • Vascular surgery

General surgery as a field comprises, but is not limited to, performing operations.  Additional expected knowledge and experience includes the following:

  • Clinical knowledge of epidemiology, anatomy, physiology, clinical presentation, and pathology (including neoplasia)
  • Knowledge of the scientific foundations, including wound healing, infection, fluid management, shock and resuscitation, immunology, antibiotic usage, metabolism, and the use of enteral and parenteral nutrition
  • Experience and skill in the clinical evaluation and management (or stabilization and referral) of patients with surgical diseases, including the appropriate use and interpretation of radiologic imaging: indications for surgery and non-surgical treatment; preoperative, operative, and postoperative care; and the management of comorbidities and complications

The following disciplines have training programs related to, but separate from, general surgery.  As the primary surgical practitioner in many circumstances, the certified general surgeon is required to be familiar with diseases and operative techniques in the following areas:

  • Organ transplantation
  • Pediatric surgery
  • Thoracic surgery
  • Vascular surgery

The certified general surgeon will gain experience during training that will allow for diagnosis and management of a select group of conditions in these areas.  However, comprehensive knowledge and management of conditions in these areas generally requires additional training.

In addition, the certified general surgeon is expected to be able to recognize and provide early management and appropriate referral for urgent and emergent problems in the surgical fields of:

  • Gynecology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Orthopedics and hand surgery
  • Urology

The certified general surgeon is also expected to have knowledge and skills in the management and team-based interdisciplinary care of the following specific patient groups:

  • Terminally-ill patients, to include palliative care and the management of pain, weight loss, and cachexia in patients with malignant and chronic conditions
  • Morbidly obese patients, to include metabolic derangements, weight-loss surgery, and the counseling of patients and families
  • Culturally diverse groups of patients

Association Contact Information

Source: American Medical Association. Graduate Medical Education Directory 2011-2012


Last Updated: 6/9/16