The Department of Surgery, University of Lagos Medical School was founded in 1962. The pioneer of the University of Lagos Medical School, Professor Horatio Oritsejolomi Thomas was the founder and first Head of the Department of Surgery. This eminent surgeon, great mentor and skilled administrator, recruited the first generation of surgeons in the Department, which included Professor Akin Adesola and Professor Ade Elebute. The first generation of academic members of staff of the Department, employed between 1962 and 1982 contributed to the production of excellent of the College of Medicine, University of Lagos (CMUL) graduates for 5 decades.the employment of second and third generation surgeons started in 1990. They the present academic members of staff are consultants in the Department. The Department of Surgery, CMUL and Lagos University Teaching Hospital (luth) continue to play a key role in the development of surgical manpower in Nigeria. The first gastrointestinal endoscopy in West African sub-region was performed by the Surgical Gastroenterology Unit of the department in 1974. The first endoscopy retrograde cholangio- pancreatography in Nigeria was also performed by the same unit in 1986. Another milestone in the department was the performance of renal transplantation by the urology unit in 2011. The practice of Surgery has evolved from each performing all types of surgery to subspecialty in practice.

The Department of Surgery, CMUL operates a semi-autonomous unit system in which faculty members, based on their areas of subspecialty interests, are grouped into Units (8) as follows: General Surgery, Paediatric Surgery, Orthopaedic & trauma Surgery, Urology, Cardiothoracic & Vascular Surgery, Burns & Plastic Surgery, Neurosurgery and Otorhinolaryngology (ENT), respectively. There are minimum of 2 lecturers  of the CMUL in each Unit. They are also as Honorary Consultants to LUTH enaling them to Perform the two intertwined roles of teaching and provision of clinical services to patients.