What is the role of artificial intelligence in general surgery?

Seung Min Baik, Ryung-Ah Lee*
Author Information & Copyright
1Division of Critical Care Medicine, Department of Surgery, Ewha Womans University Mokdong Hospital, Ewha Womans University College of Medicine, Seoul 07985, Korea.
2Division of Colorectal surgery, Department of Surgery, Ewha Womans University College of Medicine, Seoul 07804, Korea.
*Corresponding Author: Ryung-Ah Lee, Phone: +82-2-2650-5273. E-mail:

© Copyright 2024 Ewha Womans University School of Medicine. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Apr 12, 2024; Accepted: Apr 18, 2024

Published Online: Apr 30, 2024


Recently, a surge has occurred in the capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI), largely due to advancements in deep learning, inspired by the structure and function of the neural networks of the human brain. In the medical field, the impact of AI spans from diagnostics and treatment recommendations to patient engagement and monitoring, considerably improving efficiency and outcomes. In specialties, including pathology, radiology, and oncology, the clinical integration of AI has been examined. General surgery is primarily based on manual manipulation and includes preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative care, all of which are critical for saving lives. Other fields have strived to utilize and adopt AI; nonetheless, general surgery appears to have retrogressed. In this review, we analyzed the published research, to understand how the application of AI in general surgery differs from that in other medical fields. Based on previous research in other fields, the application of AI in the preoperative stage is close to being feasible. Ongoing research efforts seek to utilize AI, in improving and predicting operative outcomes; in addition to enhancing performance and patient care. However, the use of AI in the operating room remains highly understudied. Moreover, ethical responsibilities are associated with such research; thus, extensive work is required in gaining evidence. By fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and leveraging lessons regarding AI success stories from other fields, AI tools could be tailored for general surgery. Surgeons should be prepared for the use of AI in clinical practice to achieve better outcomes; therefore, ethicolegal implications should start being considered.

Keywords: Artificial Intelligence; General Surgery; Machine Learning; Deep Learning; Algorithms