Sep 21, 2023

A Day in the Life of an Orthopedic Surgeon


We all know someone who’s been limited by their bone, joint, or muscle conditions – whether inborn or from personal experiences. These conditions can keep people from going about their daily lives. Luckily, with the help of an orthopedic surgeon, there are options now for these individuals to continue living happy and productive lives.

An orthopedic surgeon operates on the musculoskeletal parts of the body, including the bones, hips, joints, knees, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. They play an important role in the diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, and prevention of these disorders.

While some orthopedists are generalists, this profession has a lot of options for sub-specializations – ankle and foot, hand, joints, spine, and sport or work-related injuries.

The Life of an Orthopedic Surgeon

Education and Training

To become an orthopedic surgeon, one needs to complete a five-year residency after medical school.

They also have to pass the orthopedic board exams—a two-part multiple choice-type of test similar to the USMLE. Part 1 will test one’s knowledge of basic science and orthopedic surgery. Part 2, an oral exam, will assess one’s clinical decisions.

Essentially, they have to complete about 14 years of formal education. In addition, because the field is constantly evolving, they have to maintain their certification through regular examinations, seminars, or training sessions.

A Day in the Life

Every day is different for orthopedic doctors. On office days, they conduct check-ups, do consultations and in-patient rounds, study patient charts, and answer calls.

When surgery is scheduled, these physicians hold a pre-surgical consultation to get to know the patient and clarify more details and specifics. They also discuss the patient’s condition with their specialized team to ensure the procedure goes as smoothly as possible.

Some surgeries take only 30-45 minutes, allowing surgeons to treat more patients within the day. Others could take longer, so surgeons can only perform one or two procedures in a day. Similarly, other musculoskeletal conditions don’t require surgery, in which case the ortho prescribes exercise programs, medication, or rehabilitation therapies.

Beyond addressing conditions from bone fractures and joint disorders to ligament and muscle tears, orthopedic surgeons also treat patients for:

  • Bunions, bow legs, club foot, and knock knees
  • Growth abnormalities
  • Ruptured disks, sciatica, and scoliosis
  • Osteoarthritis and osteoporosis
  • Unequal leg length

When initial treatments don’t work, orthopedic doctors commit to recommending and performing the necessary corrective surgery. In addition, they closely coordinate with the patients’ other physicians to ensure that they receive the correct treatment.

Is This the Path for You?

If you have a keen interest and want to be an expert on the proper diagnosis and treatment of non-surgical and surgical musculoskeletal conditions, then becoming an orthopedic surgeon can be a viable option for you.

Becoming an orthopedic surgeon requires a lot of dedication, hard work, teamwork, and passion for what you’re doing. Likewise, you need to have excellent motor coordination and a genuine desire to work with your hands, as you’ll be doing a lot of sensitive procedures. More importantly, you must be driven by the fact that you’re improving patients’ lives by addressing their physical distress.

If you need any guidance with your medical journey, C.H.H.A is here to help. Contact us today to learn more.

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