Orthopaedic Subspecialty Care

    “I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife,” Hip. Ahead of his time, Hip already understood the value of compassion within the science of medicine. The significance Hip and other healers worldwide, including ancient Indians and Egyptians, afforded the field of medicine provided the base for Orthopaedic surgery’s rich history.

    The 1500’s brought increased dynamic growth to the field of surgery. Nicholas Andry (1658 – 1759) in 1741 coined the Orthopaedic namesake with orthos, meaning “straight and free from deformity,” and paidios, meaning “child”. This does show historically how instrumental pediatrics was in the evolution of Orthopaedics. Instrumentation and equipment, techniques, and terminology continued to evolve rapidly from the 1700’s through the 1920’s. During that time, the most prominent advances in Orthopaedic surgery came from the European countries England, France, Germany, Ireland, and Sweden, with the only American noted being John Rhea Barton (1794-19871)introducing techniques for Barton’s wrist fracture. Medical advancements continue to evolve today with ever-changing advancement in technology.

    Patients continue to benefit from Orthopaedic advancement such as digital x-ray, MRI, ultrasounds, total joint replacements and arthroscopic procedures. No longer are the days where it is necessary to completely open up and expose the whole joint space to make a minor repair. For most patients, there are many other options for recovery prior to surgical intervention. These include medical counseling, medications, injections, immobilization (casting), physical therapy, exercise, diet and lifestyle modification.

    What is Orthopaedic surgery and what is required to become an Orthopaedic Surgeon? Orthopaedic surgeons are medical doctors who specialize in musculoskeletal issues. After completing an undergraduate bachelors’ program in pre-medicine, biology, chemistry, or related science field, four additional years of medical school, followed by 4-5 years of an Orthopaedic residency program, primarily in the hospital setting are required. Approximately 94% of all graduates of an Orthopaedic training program are now completing additional training in a subspecialty. This is typically in the form of a fellowship. The various fellowships include, but are not limited to Sports Medicine, Spine Surgery, Foot and Ankle Surgery, Hand Surgery, Orthopaedic Trauma Surgery, Shoulder and Elbow, Pediatric Orthopaedics and Tumor and Orthopaedic Oncology. Duel residencies are also increasing in popularity, for example, Sports Medicine and Pediatrics with a focus on sports injuries within the pediatric population is prevalent.

    Each individual field of subspecialty Orthopaedics continues to diversify and progress at a very rapid rate. This makes it extraordinarily difficult for the general orthopaedist to keep up to date on the most cutting-edge technologies and each of the various subspecialties. As we move into the future and science advances, Orthopaedic care will continue to evolve and become more specialized, breeding additional options for patients, young and young at heart.

    Return to home page →