General Surgeons Industry Profile

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Excerpt from General Surgeons Industry Profile

Practitioners in this industry use surgical techniques to diagnose, treat, and manage diseases and disorders. No major companies dominate the industry.

An estimated 1.1 million surgeons worldwide perform about 250 million major procedures each year, according to BMX Anesthesiology. Low-income countries average 1 surgical professional per 100,000 people, compared with about 10 surgeons per 100,000 in lower-middle-income countries.

About 55,000 general surgeons practice in the US, according to Statista.


Demand is driven primarily by population growth and rates of critical illness and injury. The profitability of individual practices depends mainly on expertise and reputation. Larger practices may enjoy economies of scale in administration and equipment purchasing. Smaller practices can compete successfully by specializing. The US industry is highly fragmented: the 50 largest firms generate about 20% of industry revenue.

In local markets, surgeons primarily compete with one another. Medical tourism is a fast-growing competitive threat: because surgery costs are high, patients are increasingly traveling to foreign countries for procedures that cost a fraction of US prices. General surgeons who specialize in elective procedures such as dermatology or ophthalmology may experience decreased demand for services during economic downturns. During the COVID-19 pandemic, elective procedures were halted as governments enacted shelter-in-place regulations.


A general surgeon can provide care for a broad spectrum of conditions affecting most areas of the body. Surgeons perform operations, consult with patients on preventive care, and conduct diagnostic tests. General ...

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