Orthopedic Surgeons - What Do They Do? Orthopedic surgeons - although considered specialists - actually perform a broad range of both surgical and non-surgical medical procedures associated with joints, ligaments, tendons, and the human skeleton. Nervous system disorders in relation to the spine can also be treated. Treatment includes pre-operative, post-operative and operative procedures regarding the skeletal system. Often, because of their specialty status, they work closely with general health care providers and practitioners as consultants. They may also work in the academic field, teaching or conducting research. They can treat a number of medical issues, including: > Arthritis > Club Foot, Bow Leg > Dislocations > Carpal Tunnel > Sprains and fractures > Osteoporosis > Spine disorders such as scoliosis, ruptured disc > Sports-related injuries Some surgeons choose to treat a wide range of health issues, while others specialize further into one of the following categories: > Ankle and Foot > Hand > Rehabilitation > Fractures and Trauma > Sports related injuries > Paediatrics > Joint Replacements > Arthroscopy > Spine > Shoulder and elbows Typically, your health care provider or family practitioner will refer you to a specialist for your particular medical issue. Your initial consultation will consist of a briefing of your medical history, a review of your charts/x-rays and addressing specific concerns or questions you have. The surgeon will explain the procedure in detail and discuss pre-operative and post-operative procedures, including physical therapy if needed. They may recommend other procedures before opting for surgery, depending on the nature of the medical issue and the severity. Regular appointments every few months may be necessary in order to measure the progress of the disease or injury. Physical therapy might be prescribed first. When pain medications, physical therapy and other procedures no longer help to reduce pain, or disease is in the advanced stages, surgery may be the only option left. When this happens, the
surgeon will help you understand what to expect, including how long recovery will be. The surgeon will work closely with your family practitioner or health care provider to ensure that you are getting the best care possible, and the best treatment possible. If you feel that your current health care provider is not giving you the care you need, you can request to see an orthopedic surgeon, as a second opinion. Becoming an orthopedic surgeon is not an easy task. It requires four years of undergraduate training, four years of medical school, and several more years as an intern. If one wishes to further specialize, then itĂ˘â‚Źâ„˘s at least another year of residency. In total, there are about 12-13 years of intense education, training and residencies that need to be undertaken. This is no small feat, and the competition is tough. There are only 700 people selected for internships each year across the U.S. Most orthopedic surgeons make an average of $450,000 per year, and work at least 50 hours per week. This may seem like a lot of money, but they must pay for malpractice insurance and have other costs associated with their practice.