Diplomate, American Board of Orthopedics

Spinal Surgery, Joint Surgery,  

Hand Surgery, Pain Management

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Orthopedics
 

Orthopedics is the study of the musculoskeletal system. Orthopedic doctors specialize in diagnosis and treatment of problems of the musculoskeletal system. The musculoskeletal system includes: bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves.

Orthopedic surgery or orthopedics (also spelled orthopaedics) (orthopaedic doctors above the rank of SHO/FY2 are also called orthopods) is the branch of surgery concerned with conditions involving the musculoskeletal system. Orthopedic surgeons use both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors, and congenital disorders.

Training

In the United States and Canada, orthopedic surgeons have typically completed four years of undergraduate education and four years of medical school. Subsequently, these medical school graduates undergo residency training in orthopedic surgery. The five-year residency consists of one year of general surgery training followed by four years of training in orthopedic surgery.

Selection for residency training in orthopedic surgery is extremely competitive--candidates for orthopedic residencies generally graduate at the top of their medical school classes. Many orthopedic surgeons elect to do further training, or fellowships, after completing their residency training. Fellowship training in an orthopedic subspeciality is typically one year in duration (sometimes two) and sometimes has a research component involved with the clinical and operative training. Examples of orthopedic subspecialty training in the United States are:

  • Hand surgery
  • Shoulder and elbow surgery
  • Total joint reconstruction (arthroplasty)
  • Pediatric orthopedics
  • Foot and ankle surgery
  • Spine surgery
  • Musculoskeletal oncology
  • Surgical sports medicine
  • Orthopedic trauma

These specialty areas of medicine are not exclusive to orthopedic surgery. For example, hand surgery is practiced by some plastic surgeons and spine surgery is practiced by most neurosurgeons. Additionally, foot and ankle surgery is practiced by board-certified Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (D.P.M.) in the United States. Some family practice physicians practice sports medicine; however, their scope of practice is non-operative.

The information contained above is for educational purposes only.  If you have
any questions relating to this or to any other orthopedic conditions, please consult
a board-certified orthopedic surgeon.

 
     
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