According to the American Board of Surgery: General surgery is a discipline that requires knowledge of and familiarity with a broad spectrum of diseases that may require surgical treatment. By necessity, the breadth and depth of this knowledge will vary by disease category. In most areas, the surgeon will be expected to be competent in diagnosing and treating the full spectrum of disease. However, there are some types of disease in which comprehensive knowledge and experience is not generally gained in the course of a standard surgical residency. In these areas, the surgeon will be able to recognize and treat a select group of conditions within a disease category.