Orthopedic surgeons endure long periods of schooling in order to begin practicing. The first step in the path is a bachelor's degree, preferably in biology or chemistry. Once undergraduate studies are complete, orthopedic surgeons must complete medical school to become medical doctor or a doctor of osteopathic medicine. After medical school, orthopedic surgeons may apply for residency at a hospital and demonstrate that they are knowledgeable and competent.
Orthopedic surgeons practice on patients who require diagnosis or treatment for bone, ligament, skeletal, tendon, or muscle injuries and diseases. This ranges from setting broken bones to installing orthopedic implants. They can do everything from building a cast for a particularly nasty sprain to performing delicate spinal surgery. When they perform surgery, they do so to salvage, replace, or repair damaged bones and joints and to help improve or mend the patient's skeletal health.
Orthopedic surgeons often work with their patients through every step of the recovery process. This involves monitoring their patient's health and the progress of their recovery. Since circumstances can change rapidly when dealing with patient's health, orthopedic surgeons must also be prepared to change treatments and prescriptions as necessary. They may also prescribe medicine to their patients as necessary. Ultimately, the goal of every orthopedic surgeon is to perform complication-free surgery and to do what they can to ensure a speedy recovery for their patients.
Orthopedic Surgeon Tasks
- Monitor ongoing progress and health of patients, changing treatment plans as circumstances dictate.
- Perform surgery to repair, salvage, or replace bones and joints, reconnect nerves, or otherwise improve skeletal health.
- Examine patients to diagnose and treat bone, joint, ligament, and skeleton problems, diseases, or injuries.