What is orthopedic surgery?
The commonly known definition of orthopedic surgery suggests this branch of medicine deals with surgery of bones and musculoskeletal system. This field of surgery implies not only surgical handling, but also nonsurgical treatment of various traumas, infections, muscle disorders, sport injuries, etc.
How to become an orthopedic surgeon?
This medical speciality requires several years of education and practice. Statistics shows that approximately fourteen years are needed to become a skilled surgeon. Let’s have a closer look what this dramatic figure conceals:
- Four years of undergraduate education at a college with compulsory biology, physics and chemistry courses. After college you have to pass a specified test (usually referred to as MCAT – Medical College Admission Test). After passing the test you become eligible for submission of medical school application. Remember that prospective applicants have to go through two rounds and a personal interview. Only about 10-15% of applicants are admitted to medical schools. As you can see, the entrance rate is rather low, so only bright and promising students get admission.
- Four years of studying at medical school. Half of time is spent at school; the other half is devoted to practical classes at local hospitals. While studying at school you are obliged to take national board exams twice – during the second and third years of studying. Education ends with graduation as M.D. or D.O and allocation for residences (in accordance with residential applications).
- Five years of residency, including one year of internship (i.e. general surgery training). Residency actually means getting practical experience of orthopedic surgery at different hospitals and medical institutions.
- One-two years (optional) of fellowship. Fellowship enables an orthopedic surgeon to become familiar with one of sub-specialities. Among the most widely chosen sub-specialities are pediatric orthopedics, spine surgery, sports medicine, musculoskeletal oncology, orthopedic traumas, total joint reconstruction and others. Fellowship training sometimes involves certain research work on any surgery-related aspect.
- Certification by the Board of Orthopedic Surgery. An orthopedic surgeon has to pass standardized written and oral exams to prove that he matches educational, examination and evaluation requirements.
- Surgeons specializing in sports medicine should pass additional examinations and obtain Certificate of Added Qualifications.
What duties does an orthopedic surgeon perform?
The list of responsibilities conducted by any surgeon includes the following procedures:
- Patients’ examinations.
- Inspection of medical history sheets and case-records.
- Making diagnoses basing on the results of tests (namely X-ray, Bone Scans, Computed Axial Tomography scans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging arthogram, hip and spine ultrasound, medical photography, Positron Emission Tomography, etc.)
- Prescribing tests and treatment options.
- Notifying supporting personnel of surgeries and procedures.
- Monitoring recovery processes.
- Prescribing after-surgery care.
- Handling all necessary hospital documentation.
- Other work activities.
If you are ready to embrace duties and responsibilities of an orthopedic surgeon and are to spend half of your life studying, than this position can become yours. Doctors are can save human lives. This mission is indeed lofty, yet challenging.