Orthopedics is the field of study related to the skeleton and bones. An orthopedic surgeon is a medical adviser who specializes in treating diseases and wounds of the bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. An orthopedic surgeon is a professional medical person who can carry out preoperative activities on patients and perform operations when required. He/she also takes heed of the postoperative needs of the patients.
An orthopedic surgeon has the facility to work collaboratively with health care professionals or team up with physicians as their consultant. Besides this, they may work for a hospital or opt to set up their own clinic. Earlier, orthopedic surgeons were confined to treating only kids with musculoskeletal problems; but they now treat ill and patients of all age groups including infants, athletes and arthritis patients.
Broadly, an orthopedic surgeon deals with;
Medical practitioners can prefer to practice as general orthopedic surgeon or choose from any one of the following as their specialization;
To become an orthopedic surgeon, one has to invest 14 years and follow the below mentioned steps.
Students, who aspire to become a doctor, must opt for major’s that focuses on sciences like biology, chemistry, anatomy, physiology and physics. A major in these courses is the first step towards medical college whilst giving them an added advantage to practice for Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT).
After enrolling in medical school, graduates get a chance to work as medical doctors for four years; first two years of which are classroom instructions and lab work, classes on anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and microbiology. In the last two years of medical school, the graduates are put for clinical rotations for selecting their medical specialization. The specialization also allows them to opt for orthopedics besides pediatrics, radiology, gynecology, anesthesiology and psychology.
Post clearing medical school tests, to implement the medical knowledge graduates have acquired, they have to clear United States Medical Licensing Examination to guarantee that doctors possess thorough knowledge of the laws and codes to observe medical profession. This 3-part exam ensures that graduates are well-acquainted to care patients and are capable to work in emergency settings.
After clearing the licensing exam, the doctor enters the 5-year residency program that makes them ready to enter medical field. Under this, the doctors, on surgical rotations receive their first break-through to perform general surgeries, surgical ICU and also assist in emergency room. Besides this, doctors are offered surgical subspecialties such as cardiovascular and orthopedic surgeries to perform. The resident doctors have ample of time to concentrate on being an orthopedic surgeon in this five year duration.
Orthopedic surgeons have to acquire specialty certifications as laid down by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery (ABOS). Doctors can specialize in sports medicine, shoulder and elbows, spine, rehabilitation, trauma, hands and joint replacement. To be certified, the doctors ought to have fellowship or prior work experience in their specialization, gain a sanction and clear the written exam.
The duty of an orthopedic surgeon is time and need based. The injury of the patient is analyzed by orthopedic surgeon by conducting X-rays to identify the damage of bones and blood tests are done for rheumatoid arthritis patients. Regardless of being a licensed surgeon, most orthopedic surgeons advise oral medications and local application ointments to their patients. In addition to this, rehabilitative exercises are recommended to curtail pain.
A surgery is decided upon as the last resort to undo the injury and damage caused to the patient. Surgery is preferred when there is a broken bone, harm to the ligaments; and joint and hip replacements.
To be an orthopedic surgeon, the doctors must possess excellent aptitude, mechanical skill, sharp manual ability and exceptional knack to make mental pictures. Many orthopedic surgeons prefer to cater to the needs of athletes as team physicians at college or specialized level.
An orthopedic surgeons’ career path may vary from being a solo practitioner to working in groups or teaming up with other specialists. Most of them opt to render service in Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), Independent Practice Associations (IPAs) and Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs).
Whilst many orthopedic surgeons prefer to practice the profession, others choose to impart their knowledge and experience to aspiring doctors by being designated as medical school faculty. The faculty cures patients, take charge of resident education, and also conduct research programs. Doctors registered in American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons get an opportunity to dole out in the military and government health care centers.
The job outlook of an orthopedic surgeon is expected to grow by 24 percent by 2020 as per the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics. Usually, these surgeons work upto 57 hours per week as per the criteria put forth by Association of American Medical Colleges.
The demand of orthopedic surgeon is on a high. It is known that the standard salary of an orthopedic surgeon sums upto 350,000$ each year whilst the lowest possible earning would be 243,833$ per year. Surgeons employed on a higher designation would withdraw average annual salary of 687,143$.
This makes medicine filed as one of the well-paid professions in the world.