Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery, or HPB surgery for short, is a subspecialty under General Surgery.
Just as Orthopedic Surgery has many subspecialities under it, for example Spine, Shoulder, Ankle & Foot, etc. General Surgery also has many subspecialties under it. Other than HPB Surgery, other subspecialties include Breast, Upper GI (which means stomach and oesophagus), Colorectal, Vascular, Head & Neck, etc.
As the name suggests, HPB surgery covers the diagnosis and treatment, including surgical treatment of diseases and conditions affecting the liver, bile ducts and gallbladder, and the pancreas.
The HPB surgeon is first and foremost a General Surgeon. He will go through the General Surgical training programme (also called Residency Programme), during which he will be trained in basic and advanced surgical techniques in the fields of breast surgery, upper GI surgery, colorectal surgery, vascular surgery, HPB surgery, hernia surgery, head and neck surgery, etc.
This training typically will last about 6 years. During these 6 years, the trainee, who is already a licensed doctor, will have regular assessments and feedback by his mentors, to ensure he is keeping up.
At the end of this training programme, and provided he fulfills all the criteria, he will be recognized by the Ministry of Health of Singapore as a Specialist in General Surgery.
Thereafter he may apply for additional training, called a Fellowship, in order to subspecialize. To be a HPB surgeon, he will apply for a fellowship at a renowned HPB surgery centre to be trained for an additional 1 to 2 years. Such centres are usually overseas centres of excellence.