It is frequently performed to alleviate suffering when a cure is unlikely through medication alone. It can be used for such routine procedures performed in a physician's office or for more complicated operations requiring a medical team in a hospital setting. The areas treated by this specialty include the stomach, liver, intestines, appendix, breasts, thyroid gland, salivary glands, some arteries and veins and the skin. The brain, heart, lungs, eyes, feet, kidneys, bladder, and reproductive organs, to name only a few, are areas that require specialized surgical repair.
New methods and techniques are less invasive than older practices, permitting procedures that were considered impossible in the past. For example, microsurgery has been used in reattaching severed body parts by successfully reconnecting small blood vessels and nerves. Laparoscopic techniques are more efficient, promote more rapid healing, leave smaller scars and have lower postoperative infection rates.