General surgery is a specialty that focuses primarily on the abdominal organs; stomach, small bowel, colon, liver, pancreas, gallbladder. General surgery also includes the esophagus and the repair of hernias. General surgeons can also sub-specialize in breast surgery (lumpectomy, mastectomy) and endocrine surgery (thyroid, parathyroid and adrenal glands).
Laparoscopic surgery is a specialty within general surgery. Minimal access techniques employ the use of small cameras and small instruments inserted through 0.5-1.0 cm incisions. Because of the smaller incisions, patients usually go home the same day and have a shorter and less painful recovery period.