Difference Between Surgery and Operation (with Table)

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

Surgery vs Operation

The main difference between Surgery and Operation is that surgery is a term that is always used in reference to the medical field where it is used specifically to treat the health-related problem, on the other hand, an operation may not always refer to the medical field but it may also be referred to the processes carried out in various other fields. 

Surgery is a term used only in the field of medicine. It is the process of finding and treating some pathological conditions to give relief to the patients suffering. The complete process involved in the surgery is known as the surgical process.

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

Comparison Table Between Surgery and Operation 

Parameter of Comparison



Refers to

It refers to the procedures carried out in the medical field.

Operation refers to the method by which a procedure is carried out.


Surgery 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 for

Surgery is used in the field of medicine to treat health problems.

The operation is carried out to solve some specific problems.

Performed by

It is performed by surgeons or doctors.

It can be performed by anyone with some knowledge about the field.

Requirement of Specialization 

Before carrying out the surgery, one needs to have a specialization 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 types of pathological instruments, to help a person recover from diseases or injuries. The process of carrying out a surgery is termed as surgical procedure or operation.

Surgery is a word that is only related to the medical field. It is carried out to treat some health-related problems or an injury so that the person can recover from it. It involves opening or closing of the human tissues to treat wounds.

To perform a surgery, one needs to get a specialization in the related field and therefore it is always performed by trained professionals known as 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 referred to as 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 it may also refer to the act of performing a 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 in which solving a problem is involved.

In general terms, an operation is used to refer to a planned procedure. It involves planning, management, efficiency, properly undertaking the procedure, etc in order to solve a problem. Some of the common examples of operations are military operations, business operations, etc.

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

There is no specialization required to perform an operation except in the medical field where it is performed only by experts. In other fields, the operation can be performed by anyone having some knowledge of the related field.

Each of the 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 being 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, on the other hand, an operation is a procedure carried out in a pre-planned manner.
  3. Surgery is specifically performed in the field of 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 operation can be performed by any person having some knowledge relating to the field.
  5. Before performing surgery, specialization is required in the field, on the other hand, carrying out an operation does not require any specialization.
  6. Surgery may also refer to the place where surgical operations can be performed, on the other hand, operation represents the action being conducted to solve problems.
  7. Surgery always refers to the field of medicine while operation does not necessarily refer to this field.
  8. In the field of 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 the surgeries are a type of operation while all operations can not be surgery.


The two terms sometimes mean the same and sometimes mean different. The word surgery is only used in the medical field, however, the operation can be used in various fields including the medical field, therefore, it is necessary to understand the terms before using them.