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An orthopedic (also orthopaedic) surgeon diagnoses and treats diseases and injuries of the musculoskeletal system. This system includes bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, and nerves.
Some common problems treated by orthopedic surgeons include arthritis, spine disorders, bone tumors, fractures and sprains, foot deformities, osteoporosis, carpal tunnel syndrome, back problems, and muscle, ligament or tendon damage. A few of the surgical procedures regularly performed by orthopedic surgeons include arthroscopy, hip and knee replacement, fracture repair and carpal tunnel release.
Sub-specialties of Orthopedic Surgery
General orthopedic surgeons handle all types of orthopedic problems, but others may specialize in one of the following areas:
· Adult Joint Reconstruction. These physicians perform hip, knee and other joint surgeries and replacements, and conduct ongoing research in grafting, implants and joint prosthetics.
· Foot and Ankle. This specialty addresses injuries, diseases and deformities of the foot and ankle such as arthritis, bunions, corns, calluses and the special foot concerns of diabetics.
· Hand. These surgeons treat congenital anomalies of the hand, arthritis, repetitive motion injuries (carpal tunnel syndrome), and hand problems associated with stroke or cerebral palsy.
· Shoulder and Elbow. Doctors can address arthritis, rotator cuff tears, stiffness, and dislocation or instability of the elbow or shoulder joints.
· Musculoskeletal Oncology. These doctors diagnose and treat benign and malignant tumors of the bone and soft tissues.
· Trauma and Fractures. Orthopedic traumatology treats serious, multiple and complex fractures to the spine, pelvis and extremities.
· Pediatric Orthopedics. This sub-specialty focuses on the special orthopedic needs of children, including treatment of diseases such as spina bifida, cerebral palsy, and muscular dystrophy.
· Spine. Doctors can assist with scoliosis, fractures, dislocations, herniated disks, and other spine-related problems.
· Sports Medicine. This sub-specialty addresses injuries acquired during amateur or professional athletics, including post-injury rehabilitation.
· Arthroscopy and Arthroscopic Surgery. This minimally invasive surgery uses a light and camera to diagnose and treat joint problems in the wrist, knee and other areas.
· Rehabilitation. Doctors assist patients with programs to optimize their recovery and restore mobility and strength after an injury.