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The surgeon is a doctor who specializes in performing surgery to prevent the spread of disease, to correct deformities, to repair injuries and to improve body functions. Patients are referred to a surgeon by general practitioners and specialists.

The surgeon examines each patient thoroughly, reviews the medical history and consults with other doctors to be sure an operation is necessary. The procedure is explained to the patient and/or the family.

Before surgery, the surgeon checks the equipment, instruments and surgical setup to be sure everything needed is present and sterile. After surgery the patient's condition is monitored until they have completely recovered from the operation.

Satisfying Aspects
- good working conditions
- relatively high income
- prestige associated with the profession
- satisfaction of helping others get well

Demanding aspects
- long and expensive training
- having leisure plans upset by emergencies quite often
- being responsible for the life or death of others
- long working hours
- keeping abreast of new developments

A surgeon should:
- have above average intelligence and an aptitude for science;
- have physical stamina to work long and irregular hours;
- be able to work accurately;
- make weighty decisions, often concerning matters of life and death, quickly and
- be responsible;
- be willing to study to keep up with medical advances;
- have good eye-hand coordination
- have manual dexterity and a very steady hand;
- have good vision.

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Sciences
Recommended Subjects: Life Sciences

Note: Competition to enter medical studies is stiff and there are usually many applicants with excellent grades who would naturally be given preference.

Degree: MBChB degree
- Theoretical training: 5 years.
- Student internship: 1 year.
- Practical work at a hospital: 1 year (also known as the house doctor year).

Postgraduate study for specialisation as a surgeon at e.g. UP, UFS, US, UL, UKZN, Wits:
MMed or FCP(SA): 4 years.

Before commencing post-graduate study for specialisation as a surgeon, the candidate must:
- be in possession of a MBChB degree for 2 years;
- be registered as a medical doctor with the Interim Medical and Dental Council (IMDC) of South Africa for 1 year.

On successful completion of the examination to qualify as a specialist, the candidate must register with the IMDC as a surgeon.

- Private practice
- Hospitals and other health care facilities
- Medical schools
- Government departments
- The Defence Force

Association of Surgeons of South africa ASSA
Postnet Suite 199
Private Bag x2600
Houghton, 2041
Tel: (011) 482-2034 Fax: 086 556 2232

Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA)
P O Box 205
Pretoria, 0001
Tel: (012) 338-9300 Fax: (012) 328-5120