Procedures and Surgeries





venipuncture - Richard Chambers

Procedures and surgeries are important and common components of diagnosis and treatment for primary care providers. They range from simple and minimally risky to complex and potentially life-threatening. All procedures are a series of motor skills, with significant cognitive and affective requirements as well. As such, the training required to become competent in procedures and surgeries can be very involved.

Over 2 billion people worldwide are estimated to have insufficient access to surgery (Funk et al, 2010).







Procedural and Surgical Care For Primary Care Providers

Surgeons are physicians involved in anatomic correction. General surgeons perform a wide variety of procedures, focusing on the chest and abdomen. Other surgical specialties include obstetrics and gynecology, orthopedics, ear/nose/throat, urology, neurosurgery, plastic surgery, cardiovascular, and many others. However, a vast array of procedures and surgeries may be performed by primary care providers. These core topics are discussed here.

  • foundations

  • common
  • essential surgeries
    and recuscitation
  • pre-op and
    post-op care

Common Procedures


  • abscess incision
    and drainage
  • biopsy and excisions
  • cryotherapy
  • drain placement and management
  • electrocautery
  • foreign body removal
  • ingrown toenail
  • lesion excision
  • paronychia release
  • skin scraping
  • subungual hematoma
  • skin callus paring
  • wedge excision
  • Wood's lamp


  • removal of eye foreign body
  • removal of ear wax
  • removal of ear foreign body
  • removal of nose foreign body
  • anterior epistaxis cautery
  • anterior nasal packing





Genitourinary/women's health


Injections and Lines


Essential Surgeries and Recuscitation

Essential Surgeries

  • Caesarean section
  • laparotomy
  • amputation
  • surgical treatment of acute infection
  • head, chest, and abdominal trauma
  • hernia repair
  • acute closed and open fractures
  • management of wounds and burns


Pre-Operative Care

pre-operative assessment


preparation for surgery

  • diet
  • fluids
  • medications







post-operative care

  • antibiotics
  • anticoagulation
  • IV fluids
  • nutrition
  • mobilization

common complications


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Resources and References

Online Resources

WHO - Essential and Emergency Surgical Care


WHO - Safe Surgery checklist - non-Trauma, trauma and anaesthesia manuals for physicians with basic surgical knowledge to cope with all surgical symptoms.


Life in the Fast Lane


Global HELP - free PDF books, especially in regards to pediatric surgery - University of Toronto Office of International Surgery electronic resources


$ Procedures Consult - paid-access videos by Elsevier


University of Toronto Surgical Skills Centre


Canadian Network for International Surgery


Global Partners in Anaesthesia and Surgery




AFMC undergraduate medical students competencies


Wetmore S et al. 2005. Core Procedure Skills for Canadian Family Medicine Training. CFP.





Funk LM. 2010. Global operating theatre distribution and pulse oximetry supply: an estimation from reported data. Lancet. 376(9746):1055 - 1061.


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