What is an orthopaedic surgeon? If you are suffering from a medical condition involving bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles or joints, this is an important question. Beyond visiting a primary care physician, a trip to a board certified orthopaedic surgeon could make all the difference in healing successfully.
Definition of an Orthopaedic Surgeon
An orthopaedic surgeon is a physician trained in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases and conditions of the musculoskeletal system. These conditions often involve injuries of the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles.
All orthopaedic surgeons have completed a four-year degree at a college or university as well as a four-year medical degree. Further, orthopaedic surgeons have completed a residency program, commonly a five-year stretch of concentrated study in orthopaedics. Beyond residency, many orthopaedic surgeons complete one additional year of specialized training in an area such as shoulder and elbow or foot and ankle.
The rigorous educational requirements for orthopaedic surgeons provide the basis for their practice. However, beyond this process is a very important step of completing board certification.
Becoming board certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery is very involved. The process includes a peer-review process as well as completing both oral and written examinations demonstrating a mastery of orthopaedic knowledge. If you are seeking an orthopaedic surgeon, finding one that is board certified is a wise choice to ensure the best care.
Orthopaedic Surgeon Specializations
If you have a specific injury or condition, it can be beneficial to narrow your surgeon search to a specialized doctor. Here are some of the common types of specialized orthopaedic surgeons:
- Sports Medicine
- Shoulder and Elbow
- Foot and Ankle
- Total Joints
- Trauma Surgery
If you are in need of an orthopaedic surgeon, the best thing you can do is research your options. Consult your primary care physician for a referral and ask around to trusted friends or family for recommendations. Be sure to check with your insurance company to understand your options.