Before understanding what is an orthopedic surgeon?, let us first understand what is orthopedic. Orthopedic comes a Greek word “Ortho” which means straight and “paideion” meaning children. Orthopedics, which is also spelled Orthopaedics in British English, is a medical expertise that focuses on injuries and diseases of your body’s musculoskeletal system. The system includes bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves.
The term was first formed when Nicholas Andry, first published a work on the Art of Correcting and Preventing Deformities in children, in 1741. After the publication many advances in the field and various orthopedic institute were established.
An orthopedic surgeon is a person who dedicates his self in the diagnosis and preoperative, operative, and postoperative treatment of diseases of the musculoskeletal system. This could be everything like a broken finger, a hip replacement, repairing damaged tendons, or delicate spinal surgery.
Orthopedic surgeon also works with other health care providers and provide education to other physicians. There are some condition that an orthopedic surgeon should be paired up with other physicians specializing in a certain area, for instance, people who have rheumatoid arthritis may seek an orthopedic surgeon and an Immunologist or Rheumatologist.
Orthopedic surgeons take care of various conditions that mainly affects the bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. Some examples of these conditions are the following: Arthritis, Bone tumors, Cerebral Palsy, club foot, knock knees, bow legs, bunions, hammertoes, dislocations, fractures, sprains, strains, muscle, ligament and tendon damage, osteoporosis, spine disorders such as sciatica, scoliosis, and ruptured disc. The list of conditions that an orthopedic surgeon can perform and endless, and this list should not be considered comprehensive.
Orthopedic surgeons may decide to specialize in a certain field of orthopedics, these areas could be in Arthroscopy, foot and ankle, hand, joint replacement, musculoskeletal oncology, pediatric, rehabilitation, reconstructive surgery, shoulder and elbows, or spine.
So how do you qualify for a surgeon? To meet the requirements of an orthopedic surgeon, one must complete an undergraduate program and 4 years of medical school. After 4 years of success in medical school, one must complete a 5 years residency program. Residency program typically incorporates a 4 years of orthopedic surgery schooling and a year of training in the fields of general surgery, pediatrics, or internal medicine.
To prepare for the Orthopedic Surgeon Board Certification, the physician must complete the residency program, then proceed in practice in the field of orthopedic surgery for 2 years, after these he should pass the written and oral examination. It is roughly estimated to spend 12 to 14 years of medical schooling and training after your high school graduation.
The American Board of Orthopedic Surgery will then examine and attest the qualified physician in the area of Orthopedic surgery. But these certification is not just a one shot process, you need to uphold the certification by completing 120 hours of continuing medical education (CME), and then go through peer review, and should pass a written or oral examination every 7 to 10 years.