Let’s talk about the bare bones of orthopaedics.
In this article:
- What Is Orthopaedics?
- Orthopaedics or Orthopedics?
- What Is an Orthopaedic Surgeon’s Treatment Process?
- Do Orthopaedic Surgeons Have Specializations?
- What Kind of Training Does an Orthopaedic Surgeon Go Through?
- What Can You Expect When You Visit an Orthopaedic Surgeon?
- Non-Surgical Treatment
- Surgical Treatment
Orthopaedics: Your Questions Answered
What Is Orthopaedics?
Orthopaedics is a branch of medicine that deals with diseases and injuries located in the musculoskeletal system. The system includes the joints, bones, ligaments, muscles, tendons, and nerves which are all important for movement.
Professionals who specialize in this area are called orthopaedists or orthopaedic surgeons. They care for patients of all ages.
Orthopaedics or Orthopedics?
Orthopaedics is the academic spelling, Orthopedics is the American spelling. Both variations can be used interchangeably.
What Is an Orthopaedic Surgeon’s Treatment Process?
Orthopaedic surgeons treat the musculoskeletal system, and the process is as follows:
- Diagnosis. The doctor sees you and checks your condition. This may involve a physical assessment and diagnostic tests like an x-ray and CT Scan.
- Treatment. An orthopaedist sees to your ailment with physical therapy, casting, surgery, or medication.
- Rehabilitation. This is the referral to a physical therapist for exercises that can restore strength, movement, and functionality.
- Prevention. This may involve patient education to slow down the progression of the disease and prevent further injury.
Do Orthopaedic Surgeons Have Specializations?
While all orthopaedic surgeons have knowledge in all aspects of your musculoskeletal system, many of them specialize in different areas such as the spine, foot and ankle, hands, hip, shoulders, and knees. These surgeons may choose to specialize in specific subfields like trauma, pediatrics, geriatrics, and sports medicine. Some of the doctors in this field may also have specializations in multiple areas.
What Kind of Training Does an Orthopaedic Surgeon Go Through?
An orthopaedic surgeon goes through extensive courses and training to properly diagnose and treat diseases and injuries in the musculoskeletal system. The surgeon completes up to about 14 years of education:
- 4 years studying in university
- 4 years of studying in medical school
- 5 years worth of training in orthopaedic residency in a major hospital
- One or two optional years of training in a specialized area
An orthopaedic surgeon must demonstrate their mastery of the field by passing certifying exams by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery. After this, they earn their license to practice but must also continuously study for a career-long maintenance certification.
What Can You Expect When You Visit an Orthopaedic Surgeon?
The orthopaedic surgeon starts the session by obtaining the history of injuries and illnesses. This information helps them in tailoring an effective treatment plan for you. A physical examination is done and followed with diagnostic exams like blood tests and x-rays.
After all of these tests are done, the surgeon discusses the diagnosis and helps you choose the best treatment plan to allow you to live with the best quality of life possible.
There are two types of treatment available:
Orthopaedic surgeons are able to treat various musculoskeletal conditions without resorting to surgery. Exercise, medication, and other rehabilitative therapies can be used instead:
- Physical Therapy can be prescribed by your doctor to strengthen muscles and increase mobility. A physical therapist develops an exercise regimen that caters to your needs based on your physical condition and diagnosis.
- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug prescriptions may reduce pain, swelling, and joint stiffness.
- Corticosteroids medication and injection may be used as alternatives to reduce inflammation if non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs prove to be ineffective.
- Rest allows the muscles, tendons, and joints heal.
Most musculoskeletal injuries and diseases, however, usually need more than one kind of treatment. The surgeon may recommend surgery as an option if you’re not responding well to the non-surgical treatments.
A doctor in orthopaedics performs different types of orthopaedic surgery:
- Arthroscopy is the procedure that uses special equipment and cameras to visualize, diagnose, and treat joint problems.
- Fusion connects bones together with internal devices like metal rods and bone grafts to allow them to heal into one solid bone.
- Internal Fixation holds broken pieces of the bone in position using pins, screws, or metal plates as the bone heals.
- Joint Replacement can come in three varieties: partial, total, and revision. The treatment removes and replaces the damaged arthritic joint with a prosthesis.
- Osteotomy corrects bone deformities by cutting and repositioning them.
- Soft Tissue Repair mends torn ligaments and tendons.
To know more about different types of Orthopaedic Surgeons? Watch this video from Antonio J. Webb, M.D.:
Orthopaedics is the branch of medicine that treats diseases and injuries located in the musculoskeletal system. Orthopaedists specialize in treating broken bones, torn ligaments, tendons, and muscles. If you’re a patient looking for orthopaedic assistance, you may look for the best in the field through the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, Inc.
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