Bones that are crushed and have little chance of healing can be helped by transplanting bits of bone from other locations in the body to fill areas from which bone splinters were removed. The operating room in which an orthopedic procedure is to take place resembles a woodworking shop. The physician needs drills, screwdrivers, screws, staples, nails, chisels, and other tools to work the bone and connect pieces with each other.
Deformities of virtually any bone can be corrected. Even facial bones that are malformed can be reshaped or replaced to provide a normal face or to correct defects in the oral cavity. Bone transplants from one individual to another are commonplace. The patient who loses a limb from a disease such as cancer can have a normal-appearing prosthesis fitted and can be taught how to use it and attain a near-normal lifestyle.
The orthopedist is skilled in the following areas:
- Diagnosis of your injury or disorder.
- Treatment with medications, exercise, surgery or other treatment plans.
- Rehabilitation by recommending exercises or physical therapy to restore movement, strength and function.
- Prevention with information and treatment plans to prevent injury or slow the progression of diseases.
The orthopedic surgeon is a medical doctor with extensive training in the proper diagnosis and treatment of injuries and diseases of the musculoskeletal system. The orthopedist has completed up to 14 years of formal education:
- four years of study in a college or university
- four years of study in medical school
- five years of study in orthopedic residency at a major medical center
- one optional year of specialized education.
Orthopedists often specialize in areas such as sports medicine, pediatric deformities, facial surgery, hand surgery, and so forth. Each specialty requires training and education specific for that specialty.