The Department of Surgery provides high-quality, personalized patient care, leading-edge research and comprehensive educational programs.

The Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Surgery has a long tradition of excellence in clinical care, research and teaching.

Our department performs about 20,000 surgeries each year. The high volume of procedures allows our surgeons to continually sharpen their skills, resulting in better outcomes for patients.

A History of Breakthroughs

Since our founding in the 1930s, we have hosted many important surgical milestones. Recent breakthroughs include:

  • Research into the engineering of living tissue to solve the problem of organ shortages
  • A trial of an experimental protocol to induce tolerance to mismatched kidney transplants without immunosuppressive drugs
  • Pioneering observations of the causes and treatment of pancreatitis and on the natural history, molecular biology and treatment of malignant pancreatic tumors

The department comprises 12 divisions, each with its own chief and nationally recognized area of expertise. Keith D. Lillemoe, MD, has been chief of the Department of Surgery and surgeon-in-chief since 2011.

Always Leading the Way

The Department of Surgery has become one of the country's most prestigious academic surgical programs for several key reasons, including:

  • High degree of sub-specialization:
    Each of our more than 100 surgeons has a specialized surgical focus. A physician with expertise in highly complex operations such as pancreaticoduodenectomy (the Whipple procedure), for example, performs the same procedure many times every year.
  • Multidisciplinary care:
    We are the surgical arm of Mass General multidisciplinary care centers in heart, vascular, digestive health care, transplantation and cancer. These relationships promote greater collaboration among specialists across disciplines and departments in treating each patient, and allow us to provide care in as streamlined a fashion as possible.
  • Robust research program:
    Mass General has one of the largest research programs among US surgery departments. More than 150 staff members carry out basic science, outcomes and clinical research backed by over $50 million in annual funding. Our work contributes important new knowledge to both the surgical and broader medical community.
  • Emphasis on teaching:
    We offer fellowships and residencies in nearly every specialty, and our general surgery residency is one of the most competitive in the country. The participation of these fellows and residents, who represent the best and the brightest of the next generation of surgeons, provides additional expert perspectives that enhance patient care.
  • Outcomes evaluation:
    The Codman Center for Clinical Effectiveness in Surgery analyzes long-term outcomes in patients to identify ways to improve the quality, safety and results of surgical care.