General Surgery
Emergency Medicine



Overview of the Specialty

General surgeons are trained to manage a broad spectrum of diseases and injuries almost any area of the body which requires surgery. These physicians are involved in diagnosis, preoperative, operative and postoperative care. They are usually responsible for the comprehensive management of trauma and critical patients. Although its scope is broad, general surgery usually involves the abdomen, breasts, peripheral vasculature, skin and neck. General surgeons today in the United States only rarely perform complex neurologic, orthopaedic, thoracic or urologic procedures.

Training Requirements

Training consists of a minimum of five years of postgraduate education in general surgery training in a ACGME-accredited general surgery residency training program (this training is reduced to four years for those pursuing some fellowships). There are 242 general surgery residency training programs accredited by the ACGME for 2012/2013 offering more than 1,100 categorical positions for general surgery residency training available to U.S. seniors.

Matching Program Information and Match Statistics

General surgery residency training programs participate in the NRMP. Match results through the NRMP and competitiveness information for general surgery residency training positions are summarized in the U.S. Match Statistics table below.

US Match Statistics 2013 2012 2011 2010
Competitiveness* High Intermed High High
# Categorical/ Advanced positions available for U.S. Seniors 1185 1146 1108 1077
% U.S. Seniors matched* 89 91 85 84
# Unfilled Categorical/ Advanced Positions 5 3 1 2
# Unmatched U.S. seniors 86 71 141 150

Source: NRMP *Competitiveness is based on the percentage of U.S. seniors who match in each specialty.

Subspecialty/Fellowship Training

Subspecialty/fellowship training following completion of general surgery residency training program is available in general vascular surgery, pediatric surgery, hand surgery, critical care surgery and cardiothoracic surgery. Detailed information about the scope of these subspecialty training programs, number of positions offered and length of training is available in the GMED. Further information can be obtained from the American Medical Association and the Fellowship and Residency Electronic Interactive Database Access page.
American Medical Association (AMA) 

Career Information

FREIDA physician workforce information for each specialty includes statistical information on the number of positions/programs for residency training, resident work hours, resident work environment and compensation, employment status upon completion of program and work environment for those entering practice in each specialty.



4-5 years of residency

Categorical and advanced positions available

These are minimum requirements. Some programs may have longer residencies.


Subspecialty Length
Breast Surgery 1 year
Cardiothoracic Surgery 2-3 years
Colorectal Surgery 1 year
Critical Care Medicine 1-2 years
Hand Surgery 1 year
Minimally Invasive Surgery 1 year
Pediatric Surgery 1-2 years
Surgical Critical Care 1 year
Surgical Oncology 1-2 years
Transplant Surgery 1-2 years
Vascular Surgery 1-2 years


Median, Academic Salary $339,000
Median, Clinical Salary $353,000
Source: AAMC
Create Date: 12-23-2005
Last Modification: 01-27-2014
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis