Purpose and Mission
Orthopaedic surgeons are experts in healthcare relating to the musculoskeletal system (bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, and skin). Orthopaedists are trained in medical, physical, and rehabilitative methods of treatment as well as surgical methods.
Keep in mind that up to half of an orthopaedic surgeon’s practice may be spent in non-surgical medical management of musculoskeletal conditions. Surgical procedures are usually undertaken to restore function lost due to injury or disease of bones, joints, muscles, tendons/ligaments, nervous system, or skin.
An orthopaedic surgeon also consults closely with a range other healthcare professionals to coordinate patient management. Orthopaedic surgeons are also an important member of the emergency care team at trauma centers.
Most but not all orthopaedic surgeons work under a private practice model. They are generally overseen by the management of their practice and the medical committee of any hospital where they work. Those employed at hospitals or clinics often report to a department or service head.
Orthopaedic surgeons have varied supervisory responsibilities based on their position and experience. Senior staff orthopaedic surgeons may have notable supervisory responsibilities, while those working as consultants typically have less as they are more focused on patient management.
It takes 12 or 13 years or school and supervised practice to become a full-fledged orthopaedic surgeon. These medical professionals must undertake a four or five year residency program working with experienced orthopaedists to become a fully licensed physician.
You can also apply to the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons and the Australian Orthopaedics Association for a fellowship in the specialty. At least two years of additional training are needed to qualify for an AOA Fellowship.
Responsibilities of an Orthopaedic Surgeon
Orthopaedic surgeons are trained to deal with a broad range of musculoskeletal diseases and conditions. Typical responsibilities of an orthopaedic surgeon include diagnosing and treating:
Specially trained orthopaedic surgeons also replace diseased knees or other joints with prosthetic devices.
Modern orthopaedic surgeons are also increasingly expert at arthroscopy, that is, using various visualizing instruments in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of internal joint diseases.