Muscle, bone, or joint pain is common among people of all ages and lifestyles. People who have musculoskeletal conditions, are physically active, work manual labor jobs, or spend long hours in front of a computer are all susceptible to aches and pains in their muscles, tendons, ligaments, or bones. For many, adequate rest, pain relief medications, and stretches or exercises are enough to relieve symptoms. However, when nonsurgical treatments stop being effective, your healthcare provider may recommend surgery.
An orthopedic surgeon can help you explore your options and perform the procedure that can relieve your pain.
What Is An Orthopedic Surgeon?
Orthopedic surgeons are doctors who specialize in surgery for the musculoskeletal system. They are responsible for treating joints, bones, tendons, muscles, and ligaments. There are different subspecialties that these orthopedic surgeons can undertake. Joint surgeons often focus on specific joints in the body, like the knee or hip, and they can address injuries and diseases like arthritis and other limiting joint condition. Other subspecialties include:
- Neck and back
- Hand and wrist
- Foot and ankle
- Shoulder and elbow
- Sports medicine
A common misconception is that orthopedic surgeons only recommend surgery. This is simply not true! In addition to surgical interventions, orthopedic surgeons use nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal diseases and injuries.
What Are The Roles Of Orthopedic Surgeons?
Orthopedic surgeons are responsible for the following:
- Diagnose and treat health problems and injuries related to the musculoskeletal system
- Tailor programs to prevent injuries and delay the emergence of chronic conditions like arthritis
- Assist and monitor the patient’s rehabilitation and recovery to regain strength, flexibility, mobility, and range of motion post-injury and post-surgery
What Procedures Do Orthopedic Surgeons Do?
There are a variety of procedures and treatments that an orthopedic doctor can perform. Listed below are some common ones.
Although they specialize in surgery, orthopedic surgeons will start your treatment with non-surgical methods. These may include:
- Lifestyle Changes – Crafting diet and physical activities to prevent a condition or injury from worsening.
- Exercises – Creating personalized exercise plans to help improve strength, flexibility, and range of motion.
- Medications – Recommending medication to alleviate swelling and pain. Some examples include aspirin and ibuprofen, over-the-counter medicines, and anti-inflammatory and corticosteroids for prescription drugs.
Below are some of the most common procedures orthopedic surgeons perform:
- Fusion — connecting two bones through internal fixation and the use of bone graft material. This is typically used to solve spinal conditions.
- Joint Replacement — makes use of a prosthesis made of metal, plastic, or ceramic to replace damaged parts or the entire joint. Two of the most common types are hip replacement and knee replacement surgery, which are often performed for patients with advanced arthritis.
- Osteotomy — cutting various parts of bones then repositioning them.
- Internal Fixation — placing hardware like rods, plates, screws, and pins to hold broken or healing bones in place.
How To Become An Orthopedic Surgeon
It is mandatory for someone aiming to be an orthopedic surgeon to undergo four years of medical school and five years of residency. They also have the option of pursuing fellowship training, depending on their subspecialty. Fellowship training gives them the necessary knowledge, resources, and support they need to learn more about their subspecialty.
When looking for an orthopedic surgeon, make sure to check their background, expertise, and experience to determine if they can help you. Hospitals and clinics may have websites that you can check for a surgeon’s profile.
The Best Orthopedic Surgeons In San Antonio, TX
For severe musculoskeletal pain, injury, and diseases, an orthopedic surgeon can help you find the relief you seek. Don’t endure the pain and consult one of our providers at the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine.
With our advanced orthopedic care, you can rest assured that you will receive quality, patient-centered care using the latest techniques and state-of-the-art facilities. To get in touch with us, you may call (210) 692-7400, or request an appointment online. We look forward to serving you!