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What Is an Orthopedic Physician?

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An orthopedic physician has completed specialist training in orthopedics – the branch of medicine dealing with the musculoskeletal system. You will need to see an orthopedic surgeon if you are suffering from any of the following problems:

  • Broken bones
  • Arthritis or other joint problems
  • Osteoporosis or other degenerative conditions
  • Sports injuries
  • Bone tumors
  • Congenital disorders

Orthopedic Physicians in the Workplace

Sometimes an orthopedic physician will work in a small clinic and specialize in a certain aspect of orthopedics such as sports injuries of degenerative conditions. Other orthopedic physicians may work in a hospital and treat everything from sprains to hip replacements.

The Orthopedic Physician and Patients

The most common cause of patient visits to an orthopedic physician is for the treatment of a broken bone. An orthopedic physician may also see many patients for the treatment and management of arthritis and other joint problems. They are also responsible for performing a procedure known as an arthroscopy. This entails a internal but minimally invasive examination of shoulder, hip or knee damage to assess if surgery may be needed.

Orthopedic Physician Training

Training to become an orthopedic physician will take around thirteen years. It begins with four years of school as an undergraduate, studying chemistry and biology and then four as a graduate at medical school studying clinical medicine, followed by five years of residency in a hospital. During the period of residency the doctor will a particular specialism of orthopedics to study. This could be bone tumors or joint replacement or any other area of specialty related to this branch of medicine.

An orthopedic physician may also work in a teaching hospital in which case they will be responsible for teaching courses and supervising students. They will also manage patients and may be regularly on call for emergency procedures. The average working week for an orthopedic physician is 50-55 hours. Most of this time will be spent seeing patients in a hospital or clinic. The rest of the time will be spent consulting other cases, teaching and doing paperwork. The average salary for an orthopedic physician in the US is $150,000-200,000.

Related:

Top 10 Questions about Orthopedic Physicians

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