What Type Of Orthopaedic Surgeon Do You Want To Be?May 16, 2014
Types of Orthopaedic Surgeon
As an orthopaedic surgeon you can choose to practice either in general orthopaedic surgery or you can specialise in particular areas of this specialty. If this is a field you are interested in pursuing, here are a few of the many subspecialties within orthopaedic surgery:
Hand and Foot Surgery
The hand, wrist, foot and ankle are among the most complicated structures in the body. They contain large numbers of small jointed bones, fine muscles, tiny blood vessels and tendons, all of which might require treatment when either the hand or food is injured. Hand surgeons specialise in treating fractures, deformities and vascular conditions. They also treat repetitive stress injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Foot surgeons specialise in treating conditions of the foot and ankle. These could include repair of ligaments, tendons and fractures, correction of deformities and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. By restoring their patients’ mobility or dexterity, a hand and foot specialist can have a tremendous impact on quality of life.
The spinal column is a crucial component as the centre of the body’s skeletal system and also as a protective conduit for some of the major nerves in the body. Injuries or deformities of the spine can have far-reaching effects, ranging from chronic pain to impaired or lost mobility. Spinal surgeons are highly specialised in the treatment of all spinal conditions including deformities, degenerative disorders, injuries and spinal tumours.
Paediatric Orthopaedic surgeons deal with a broad range of conditions in children and adolescents. These include sports injuries, broken bones and mobility-restricting foot and ankle conditions to congenital deformities and cerebral palsy. Like general orthopaedic surgeons, they treat any area of the body, from the skull and skull base to the hands or feet. The only difference between these two specialties is the age of their patients. Children’s bodies and bones are smaller and more delicate, requiring an extremely high level of surgical precision and skill.
Accidents, acts of violence and natural disasters can cause several serious injuries of the musculoskeletal system. In an emergency, orthopaedic trauma surgeons work quickly and efficiently to repair torn ligaments and broken bones, limiting potential long-term or permanent damage. Trauma surgeons also provide longer-term care for many patients as they rehabilitate from surgery or severe injuries. These specialists are in particularly high demand after natural disasters.
Though part of a healthy and active lifestyle, regular participation in sports is not without hazards. Broken bones and various joint injuries are a common occupational hazard. Orthopaedic surgeons specialising in sports medicine perform repairs to athletes’ shoulders, knees, hips and elbows, often extending the careers of professional athletes by several years.
Joint preservation often overlaps with sports medicine, though it is a unique specialty in its own right. It includes various procedures in the treatment of arthritis and other degenerative disorders of the bones or ligaments as well as arthroscopic reconstruction of ligaments in the hip and knee. In severe cases, the surgeon will replace a hip or knee.