What Does a Medical Assistant in General Surgery Do?

A medical assistant in general surgery is a vital member of the surgical team. They are responsible for a variety of tasks, including prepping patients for surgery, assisting during surgery, and post-operative care.

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Job Description

A medical assistant in general surgery provides a variety of important services to patients and surgeons. Most notably, they prepare patients for surgery by taking their medical histories, performing physical examinations, and ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests. They also assist surgeons during surgery, which may include handing them instruments, holding retractors, and applying dressings to incisions. In some cases, Medical assistants may even close incisions. After surgery, they provide post-operative care by checking vital signs, removing drains and catheters, and providing instructions on wound care.


The duties of a medical assistant in general surgery may differ slightly from those in other surgical specialties, but generally they are responsible for preoperative patient education, preparing operating room instruments and supplies, and assisting the surgeon during the procedure. They may also be involved in postoperative care, providing wound care and instructing patients on at-home care


Medical assistants in general surgery earn an average salary of $32,000 per year. The top 10% of earners make more than $40,000 per year, while the bottom 10% make less than $24,000 per year. Salaries vary based on experience, education, location, and employer.


Medical Assistants in general surgery complete a curriculum that covers both clinical and administrative tasks. The administrative side of the job includes duties such as scheduling appointments, taking patient histories, verifying insurance benefits and coding medical records The clinical side involves tasks such as prepping patients for surgery, assisting the surgeon during surgery, changing dressings and providing postoperative care.


There are many different types of medical assistants, and their duties vary depending on the type of medical facility they work in. In general, however, medical assistants are responsible for performing a variety of administrative and clinical tasks to support the work of physicians and other health care professionals.

Medical assistants who work in general surgery typically have a wide range of responsibilities, from scheduling appointments to taking patient histories and ensuring that the surgical area is clean and sterilized. They may also assist with surgeries, help to care for patients post-operatively, and provide instruction on post-operative care.

Most medical assistants in general surgery complete a formal training program and earn certification from an accredited organization such as the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). Certification is not required for all medical assistant positions, but it may give candidates a competitive edge when applying for jobs.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for medical assistants in general surgery is very good. Employment of medical assistants is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2024, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook. The growth of the aging baby-boom generation will result in an increasing need for surgical procedures, and as a result, an increasing demand for surgical assistants.

Advancement Opportunities

In addition to the traditional opportunities for advancement within the medical assisting profession, those working in general surgery have numerous additional avenues open to them.

For example, many medical assistants in this specialty choose to pursue further education in order to become a registered nurse or a physician assistant. Others may elect to specialize in a particular area of surgery, such as pediatrics or orthopedics. And still others may decide to move into management roles, either within their current organization or with another employer.

Work Schedule

The work schedule of a medical assistant in general surgery varies depending on the size of the practice, but typically includes full-time, 40 hours per week. Medical assistants working in surgery typically have regular weekday shifts with some Saturday or evening hours as needed.

Pros and Cons

Medical assistants in general surgery perform many different tasks. They may work in outpatient or inpatient settings, or they may split their time between the two. In general, medical assistants:

-Take medical histories and record vital signs
-Prep patients for examination
-Assist the surgeon during procedures
-Provide postoperative care and instructions
-Schedule follow-up appointments

Working as a medical assistant in general surgery has a number of pros. For one, it’s a highly specialized field, so you’ll have the opportunity to learn a great deal about surgical procedures and get to see surgeries firsthand. Additionally, you’ll be able to work closely with surgeons and other medical professionals, which can be very rewarding. There’s also a good deal of job stability in this field as demand for medical assistants is expected to grow in the coming years.

Of course, working as a medical assistant in general surgery also has some downsides. One of the biggest is that it can be a very demanding job, both emotionally and physically. You will likely see some gruesome injuries and surgeries, and you need to be able to handle that mentally. Additionally, you’ll be on your feet for long periods of time and may have to lift heavy equipment or patients occasionally.

Is This the Right Career for You?

Medical assistants play a vital role in the healthcare industry. They work closely with patients, doctors, and other medical staff to ensure that everyone is able to do their job effectively. If you are considering a career as a medical assistant, you may be wondering what exactly they do. Here is an overview of the duties of a medical assistant in general surgery.

Medical assistants in general surgery typically do a variety of tasks. They may answer patient questions, take medical histories, measure vital signs, prepare patients for surgery, and assist the surgeon during surgery. They also may help with post-operative care and instruct patients on how to care for their incisions. In addition, medical assistants may schedule patients for follow-up appointments and perform other administrative tasks.

Becoming a medical assistant requires completing an accredited training program. Many community colleges offer these programs, which typically take about one year to complete. Some employers also offer on-the-job training for those who are interested in this career. Once you have completed your training, you will need to pass a certification exam before you can start working as a medical assistant.

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