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What Type of Doctor is an Orthopedic Surgeon?

An orthopedic surgeon is a doctor that treats disorders of the bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. These types of disorders cause musculoskeletal pain.

Musculoskeletal pain is extremely common, affecting 1 in 2 adults in the United States. In fact, musculoskeletal pain comes in second only to cancer pain.

If you have a musculoskeletal problem, you may need treatment from an orthopedic surgeon.

Some orthopedic surgeons are generalists and treat musculoskeletal pain everywhere in the body, while others specialize in certain areas:

  • Hip and knee
  • Foot and ankle
  • Hand
  • Shoulder and elbow
  • Spine

Professional Training of an Orthopedic Surgeon

Orthopedic surgeons have over nine years of medical training. After Medical School, they spend four years getting hands-on training in surgery.

They dedicate an additional year to a preferred field of interest, for example, knee or hip surgery. Orthopedic surgeons receive a special certification from the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery.

You are in good hands when you receive care from a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon!

Conditions Treated by an Orthopedic Surgeon

Common conditions treated by an orthopedic surgeon include:

  • Bone fractures
  • Trauma to the musculoskeletal system
  • Sport injuries
  • Back pain (herniated discs, narrowed spinal canal)
  • Congenital disorders (scoliosis in children)
  • Arthritis (may require joint replacements)
  • Bone tumors

Surgical and Nonsurgical Treatments From an Orthopedic Surgeon

Orthopedic surgeons use both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat their patients.

At first, your orthopedic doctor will offer treatments that do not involve surgery. They may start by placing medication directly in the painful area, for example, a joint.

There are several injections that either numb the pain or help the body heal faster:

If your pain does not improve with these ”first-line” treatments, you may require surgery. The type of surgery depends on your unique problem.

However, generally speaking, the most common orthopedic surgeries are:

  • Hip replacement surgery
  • Knee or hip video-assisted surgery
  • Shoulder and rotator cuff surgery
  • Hand and wrist surgeries
  • ACL surgery (ligament repair in the knee)

Finding an Orthopedic Surgeon That Fits Your Needs

Orthopedic surgeons often work alongside other healthcare providers, like pain management specialists, physical therapists, other surgeons, and rehabilitation doctors.

A team approach helps guide you through the appropriate treatments in a stepwise manner.

When you contact National Spine and Pain Centers, your pain management specialist can refer you to an orthopedic surgeon.

Your doctors will work together to offer you the best care possible and help you return to an active lifestyle.

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