Who is an Orthopaedic Surgeon?
An orthopaedic surgeon is a physician devoted to the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and rehabilitation of injuries, disorders and diseases of the body’s musculoskeletal system. This system includes bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves and tendons. While orthopaedic surgeons are familiar with all aspects of the musculoskeletal system, many orthopaedists specialize in certain areas, such as the foot and ankle, hand, shoulder and elbow, spine, hip or knee. Orthopaedic surgeons may also choose to focus on specific fields like pediatrics, trauma, reconstructive surgery, oncology (bone tumors) or sports medicine.
Who does an Orthopaedic Surgeon Treat?
Orthopaedic surgeons treat patients of all ages – newborns, children, athletes, baby boomers and the elderly – with conditions that range from bone and joint disorders and fractures to diseases or tears of the muscles, ligaments and tendons in all regions of the body. It is essential that patients and their families develop partnerships with their physicians. This will help ensure that decisions about medical treatments honor the patients’ wants, needs, preferences and values. Orthopaedic surgeons respect the value of diversity and are committed to serving communities and individuals with unique needs.
What does an Orthopaedic Surgeon Treat?
An orthopaedic surgeon treats many musculoskeletal conditions without surgery, by using medications, exercise and other rehabilitative or alternative therapies. If necessary, he/she may also recommend surgical treatment if the patient does not respond to other treatments.
Some of the conditions and diseases an orthopaedic surgeon treats include:
- Abnormalities of the fingers and toes
- Back pain, ruptured disks, sciatica and scoliosis
- Bone tumors, muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy
- Club foot, bunions, bow legs, knock knees and unequal leg length
- Fractures and dislocations
- Growth abnormalities
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Sports or work-related injuries
- Tendon injuries, pulled muscles, bursitis and torn cartilage
- Torn ligaments, sprains and strains
What Types of Surgeries do Orthopaedic Surgeons Perform?Orthopaedic surgeons perform numerous types of surgeries on patients. Common surgeries include:
Before undergoing the spine surgery, you should discuss with your surgeon about the possible complications that might occur and how will they be treated. Your orthopedic doctor would take care by continuous monitoring, medications, and precautionary measures.
Advised spinal surgery? Second opinion is necessary
A correct diagnose is necessary for a successful spine surgery. Once your orthopedic recommends a spinal surgery, we would always advice you to take a second opinion with other orthopedic surgeon and neurologist. Be free to ask all your queries, doubts, and know related risk or expected outcome of the surgery. After finally deciding over the surgery, ensure your spine surgeon has good experience and record of successful spine surgeries as these surgeries are complicated and require expert team of surgeons.
- Arthroscopy - A procedure using special cameras and equipment to visualize, diagnose and treat problems inside a joint.
- Fusion – A "welding" process by which bones are fused together with bone grafts and internal devices – such as metal rods – to heal into a single solid bone.
- Internal Fixation – A method to hold the broken pieces of bone in proper position with metal plates, pins or screws while the bone is healing.
- Joint replacement (partial, total and revision) – When an arthritic or damaged joint is removed and replaced with an artificial joint called a prosthesis.
- Osteotomy – The correction of bone deformity by cutting and repositioning the bone.
- Soft Tissue Repair – The mending of soft tissue, such as torn tendons or ligaments.
What Should a Patient Expect from a Visit with an Orthopaedic Surgeon?
In general, visits with an orthopaedic surgeon start with a personal interview, physical examination and review of previous records or tests. This may be followed by additional diagnostic exams, such as blood tests, X-rays or other images. For most orthopaedic conditions and injuries there may be more than one form of treatment. The orthopaedic surgeon will discuss treatment options with the patient to mutually determine the plan best suited for his/her health and lifestyle.