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What Do Orthopedic Surgeons Do?

Orthopedic surgeons are surgeons who specify in treating conditions that involve the musculoskeletal system. Orthopedic surgeons are in charge with repairing damage to our skeletal system derived from trauma, diseases, disorders and other complications.

                Orthopedic surgeon training starts with the usual four years of pre-med in college, and the four years of medical school proper. Following that, aspiring orthopedic surgeons undergo a gruelingly competitive five year residency where only a select few are chosen to complete the training. This is obviously due to the very broad area of expertise needed to be qualified as an expert in treating bone-related complications, due to both the diversity of the skeletal system, and the wide berth of complications that may arise in a person’s skeletal system.

                Skeletal-related injuries are among the most common injuries that we face. Human beings are a naturally active race, and therefore we tend to get into many accidents that may result in a fractured bone. Thus, orthopedic surgeons are there to help re-set the bones back in their proper place, and to give advice to their patients on how to properly care for and nurse the broken bone back to full health. In fact, skeletal trauma may be the procedures that orthopedic surgeons perform the most, due to how common accidents resulting in broken bones are. It is for this reason that the best orthopedic surgeons are highly sought after in all the major sporting leagues.

                Aside from mending broken bones, orthopedic surgeons are also known to replace severely damaged bones. The science of orthopedic surgery has helped pioneer in the creation of artificial bones meant to replace severely broken bones that have no hope of healing. Aside from accidents and trauma, bone replacement is also performed on senior citizens, often with their hips and knees being replaced, and with patients often reporting a renewed sense of mobility and vitality thanks to the bone replacements done by orthopedic surgeons.

                Aside from bone replacement, orthopedic surgeons are incredibly valuable to senior citizens in many other procedures. It is no secret that as we grow older, our bones get more brittle and weaker. Orthopedic surgeons, especially those who have completed fellowships meant to focus on elderly care, are tasked with the rehabilitation of many senior citizens’ bones, such as strengthening and fortifying their bones. Orthopedic surgeons also play a role in alleviating the symptoms of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.

                Other than injuries and natural degradation, orthopedic surgeons are also trained in treating chronic diseases of the bones, most notably bone cancer. Orthopedic surgeons can help identify affected areas of bones which have bone cancer, and are trained on its removal, and subsequent repair. This is crucial work for orthopedic surgeons, due to the fact that bone cancer can result in the degradation of the person’s quality of life, due to the decreased mobility, and increased pain in affected areas, and due to the fact that many forms of bone cancer may metastasize to other areas, like the blood, and nearby organs.

                Other conditions that form orthopedic surgeons’ bread and butter are natural in-born deformities of the skeletal system. Scoliosis is one of the most common genetic defects of the skeletal system, which is the abnormal curvature of the spinal column. This can result in further complications down the line, such as a poor posture, and pain. Orthopedic surgeons are therefore tasked with the correction of the posture of the spinal column, and the subsequent rehab of the patient.

                The work of the orthopedic surgeons is incredibly important due to the necessity of a functioning skeletal system. A good skeletal system would mean good mobility, and a great quality of life for the patient, and thus it is paramount that orthopedic surgeons help in repairing and healing whatever damage and diseases that might plague the patient’s skeletal system.

                Going back to the fact that orthopedic surgeons are extremely sought after in all major sporting leagues, this proves that the trust that people have for orthopedic surgeons are among the highest in the world. Thanks to hundreds of years of medical research, innovations, and advancements, orthopedic surgery has been perfected to the point where even injuries that have been considered life-ending in the past, have been rendered survivable by today’s standards.

                Orthopedic surgeons are also responsible for the improved quality of life among the elderly, thanks to these advancements. It used to be that reaching the age of 70 was unheard of at the time, and that reaching it was the exception, rather than the rule. And in the unlikely event someone did reach this age, most of them would be decrepit and invalid, due to the sheer amount of pain rendering them immobile. Arguably, death would be preferable to such a stunted existence.

                But today, thanks to the advancements in orthopedic surgery, people as old as 90 have been observed to walk, run, and even bike freely thanks to joint and hip replacement surgeries. It’s also thanks to these procedures that athletes’ careers have also been lengthened, thanks to their bones being more taken care of by orthopedic surgeons.

                It is also thanks to orthopedic surgeons that many children would go on to live normal lives that would’ve otherwise been affected by whatever genetic conditions they had with their skeletal system. Often in examples of skeletal deformations and abnormalities, the photographs are often very dated. This is because back then, orthopedic surgery wasn’t advanced enough to fix these conditions. But now, thanks to modern advancements, most of these children can be operated on for the chance to live a normal, happy life.

                The skeletal system is the base system for our mobility and lives. It is the core of what our bodies are physically, to the point where it is all that will be left of us after we’re long gone. Therefore, it is only fitting that orthopedic surgery can also be considered one of the core disciplines of medicine. It is truly a very varied and diverse branch of medicine, both concerning the system it studies, and the disorders it aims to fix, and thus, deserves our respect and appreciation. Both for the field, and for the remarkable doctors who study and practice it.

Sources:

https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/musculoskeletal-and-rheumatology/2019/december/ortho-surgeons-7-things-to-know

https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-is-an-orthopedic-surgeon

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthopedic_surgery

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