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Principles of surgery, surgical pathology and general surgery are synonymous terms. This is the soul, the brain, of the science of surgery. It is the red thread that runs through the surgeon's every action, and leads and guides him in diagnosis, in prognosis, and in treatment as well. It lays down broad general laws and truths, which are the same everywhere, in any number of details of a given case.
Special surgery is a conglomerate mass of details, of anatomy, technique of operating and varied forms of special diseases in special regions. It is impossible for any surgeon to remember and know by heart all of these at one time. Thus, he has his books in which to find the detailed description of a disease or operation when he meets a case requiring this special knowledge.
General surgery, on the other hand,—the broad general laws of Nature,—the student, the practitioner,
Principles of Surgery.. JAMA. 1891;XVI(7):250–252. doi:10.1001/jama.1891.02410590034025