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An orthopaedic surgeon is a highly specialized person who practices orthopedics (a medical speciality devoted to caring for the human musculoskeletal system). It is a system that comprises muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and other connective tissues and helps move from one place to another.

Who is an Orthopaedic Surgeon?

An Orthopaedic Surgeon is a highly specialized physician devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries and disorders. This profession requires 14 years of formal education to obtain board certification, with the vast majority of practitioners operating private practices.

Orthopedic surgery is considered one of the more cutting-edge, in-demand fields in this profession. They involve both surgical and non-surgical techniques to treat trauma, tumors, infection, conventional defects, and degenerative diseases affecting the bones, ligaments, joints, tendons, and nerves that coordinate movement.

The field of orthopaedics is very broad. As a whole, it encompasses a number of other areas of specialities or subspecialties. The most common sub-specialities in the field of orthopedics include:

1. Sports Medicine

Many orthopaedic surgeons go on to become fellowship-trained in sports medicine. This speciality training allows them to better treat athletes, weekend warriors, and active people for sport-related injuries and problems affecting the musculoskeletal system. Sports medicine experts can improve performance and make sure that when patients do become injured, methods of physical therapy and exercise are used to treat injury, maximize function and mobility, and take the athlete back to their game as quickly as possible.

2. Hand Surgery

Orthopaedic surgeons specialize in certain body parts or techniques. Orthopedists who specialize in hand surgery focus on diagnosing and treating injuries and conditions that affect your hand and upper extremities, such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, fractures, trigger finger, etc. As you can imagine, the hands are both very delicate and complex, so it is a subsequent time when you can appreciate an orthopaedic surgeon’s undivided attention.

3. Pediatric Orthopedics

Orthopedic doctors can be trained to care for children, with specialized training in pediatrics. Pediatric orthopedics help to treat children who are suffering from issues, including scoliosis, cerebral palsy, broken bones, etc. They know how to treat children and make them feel comfortable as well as have a keen understanding of the aspect of growth and development.

4. Sound Surgery

Orthopaedic surgeons can specialize in treating injuries and conditions affecting the spine as a result of disease, degeneration, or trauma. 

5. Foot and Ankle Orthopedics

Orthopedic doctors also specialize in treating people who have issues with the foot and ankle, such as strain and sprain, or might just the feet, treating conditions such as Achilies tendonitis or problems associated with diabetes.

6. Joint Replacement

This is one of the most common sub specialities that orthopaedic surgeons specialize in. They specifically take care of damaged joints, which usually happen due to age, wear and tear, or overuse. The hip and knee are the most commonly replaced joints, and many orthopaedic surgeons specialize in this field.

7. Trauma Surgery

Injuries are often complex. Therefore, orthopaedic surgeons specialize in treating and doing surgery in the trauma unit, meaning for injuries of the musculoskeletal system that are severe and critical. Since accidental trauma and damage can be pretty random, an orthopaedic surgeons (trauma surgeon) has to have an astounding understanding of the human anatomy and what the body should look like compared to the traumatized area.

Orthopedic medicine covers quite a bit, so it is essential to find an orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in the area that you need care for. They can specialize in many things and have a lifetime of knowledge to provide high-quality care for their patient’s needs.

What should you expect during your first appointment?

First appointments often include:

  • Discussion on your symptoms, medical history, and lifestyle.
  • A physical examination, including moving the affected joint in specific ways.
  • Imaging studies, such as X-rays.
  • Explanation of your diagnosis.
  • Treatment recommendations.

Some conditions or problems need additional imaging, such as a CT scan or MRI, for more in-depth views of the painful area. For these considerations, you might not receive a diagnosis or treatment plan on your first visit. Your orthopedic doctor will recommend therapies to reduce symptoms until you receive a diagnosis.

What type of medical training do orthopedists undergo?

Orthopedic doctors have up to 14 years of medical training. This includes 4 years of undergraduate studies and four years in medical school. Training may include traditional medical school or osteopathic education. Osteopathic doctors use a whole person’s approach to care that addresses a person’s mind, body, and spirit.

Next, they complete an orthopedic residency. It’s typically five years old and provides hands-on learning in a medical setting. Orthopedic doctors who wish to specialize complete a one or two-year fellowship.

After completing medical training, orthopedists can become board-certified.  They must pass an exam from a certified organization.

A Note From Dr. Raghvendra Jaiswal

Orthopedists treat a wide range of musculoskeletal issues in people of all age groups. Some specialize in areas such as the upper extremity, foot and ankle, and spine conditions. At your appointment, be ready to discuss your symptoms, medical history, and therapies you are currently doing. Seeing an orthopaedic surgeons doesn’t mean you’ll end up having surgery. They help many people feel better with non-surgical treatments, like injections and physical therapy.

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