Surgery vs Operation: Difference and Comparison

Operation and Surgery are actions that play important roles in the respective field. Surgery and Operation can sometimes be used interchangeably, and sometimes they can not be.

Key Takeaways

  1. Surgery is a broad term encompassing a wide range of medical procedures performed by trained surgeons involving the manipulation or removal of body tissues to diagnose, treat, or prevent medical conditions.
  2. Operation is a synonym for surgery, generally used interchangeably with the term surgery to describe various medical procedures that involve manipulating or removing body tissues.
  3. The difference between surgery and operation is subtle, as they are synonymous terms, with both referring to medical procedures that involve the manipulation or removal of body tissues for various purposes.

Surgery vs. Operation

Surgery is a medical procedure that involves cutting into the body to diagnose or treat a condition. It can be performed using a variety of techniques. Operation is a surgical procedure that involves cutting into the body to treat a particular condition or injury, such as an appendectomy or hip replacement.

Surgery vs Operation

Surgery is a term used only in the field of medicine. It is the process of finding and treating some pathological conditions to relieve the patients suffering.

The complete process involved in the surgery is known as the surgical process.


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Operation refers to some action or a group of actions performed in a specified manner. The term operation can be used in different fields involving a process to solve the problem.

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonSurgery Operation 
Refers toIt refers to the procedures carried out in the medical field.Operation refers to the method by which a procedure is carried out.
MeaningSurgery means performing a procedure to cure a health-related problem by incision.Operation means performing a pre-planned procedure to achieve the desired result.
Used forSurgery is used in the field of medicine to treat health problems.The operation is carried out to solve some specific problems.
Performed byIt is performed by surgeons or doctors.Anyone with some knowledge of the field can perform it.
Requirement of Specialization Before carrying out the surgery, one needs to specialize in the field.To carry out the operation, there is no specialization required.

What is Surgery?

The medical term surgery is a technique to find and treat some pathological condition, may it be some disease or an injury, with the help of different pathological instruments to help a person recover from diseases or injuries. The process of carrying out surgery is termed a surgical procedure or operation.

Surgery is a word that is only related to the medical field. It is carried out to treat health-related problems or an injury so that the person can recover from it.

It involves the opening or closing of the human tissues to treat wounds. To perform surgery, one needs to specialize in the related field; therefore, it is always performed by trained surgeons.

Surgery can either be invasive surgery or noninvasive surgery, depending on the procedure of it. Surgery is of various types depending on the procedure, the body part being treated, urgency, degrees of invasiveness, purpose, timing, and the types of instrumentation involved.

Examples of some surgeries are Elective Surgery, Semi-elective Surgery, Emergency Surgery, Exploratory Surgery, Cosmetic Surgery, Amputation, Extirpation, Transplantation, Laparoscopic Surgery, Laser Surgery, Robotic Surgery, Microsurgery, etc.

The word surgery is also used to refer to the workplace of a doctor or surgeon, which in daily life is called the clinic. It could be a place where patients visit doctors or where surgeries are performed.


What is Operation?

The dictionary meaning of operation is the action of being functional and may also refer to performing surgery on a patient. Therefore, the operation refers to the method of carrying out some particular procedure or task.

Hence, operation relates to the procedures of various fields involving solving a problem. In general terms, an operation refers to a planned procedure.

It involves planning, management, efficiency, properly undertaking the procedure, etc., to solve a problem. Some common examples of operations are military operations, business operations, etc.

The operation is used synonymously in the medical field with the word surgery. It is used to refer to the process of treating a patient surgically.

No specialization is required to operate except in the medical field, where experts perform it only. In other fields, the operation can be performed by anyone with knowledge of the related field.

Each surgery is a type of operation, but an operation is not necessarily a surgery.


Main Differences Between Surgery and Operation

  1. Surgery refers to the procedures carried out in the medical field, while an operation may or may not relate to the field of medicine.
  2. Surgery means performing procedures to cure some health-related problems; conversely, an operation is carried out pre-planned.
  3. Surgery is specifically performed in medicine to treat a health-related problem using an incision, while operation can be performed in any field to solve problems.
  4. Surgery is performed only by surgeons, while anyone with some field knowledge can perform operations.
  5. Before performing surgery, specialization is required in the field; conversely, carrying out an operation does not require specialization.
  6. Surgery may also refer to where surgical operations can be performed; on the other hand, operation represents the action conducted to solve problems.
  7. Surgery always refers to medicine, while operation does not necessarily refer to this field.
  8. In medicine, surgery means the complete case study and the processes performed until the end, while operation, on the other hand, refers only to the surgical process.
  9. All surgeries are a type of operation, while all operations can not be surgery.
Difference Between Surgery and Operation
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