Orthopedic surgeons are crucial in the field of medicine. They specialize in the diagnosis and treating musculoskeletal conditions and injuries. Orthopedic surgeons address many orthopedic issues that affect the bones, joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Some common ones include fractured bones, torn ligaments, and degenerative joint diseases. They help patients regain mobility and alleviate pain. If you’re curious to learn more about orthopedic surgeons and their roles, this article will provide essential insights.
1. There Are Various Types of Orthopedic Surgeons
One of the major things you should know is that not all orthopedic specialists are orthopedic surgeons. While orthopedic surgeons specialize in surgical interventions, there are other types of orthopedic specialists. They focus on non-surgical treatments for orthopedic conditions. These specialists include orthopedic physicians, also known as non-operative orthopedic doctors. They provide comprehensive evaluations, diagnoses, and conservative treatment options. Some of their approaches include physical therapy, medications, injections, and rehabilitation programs.
Additionally, there are orthopedic subspecialists. These include orthopedic sports medicine physicians and orthopedic oncologists. This category also includes pediatric orthopedic specialists and spine specialists. They work closely with orthopedic surgeons to provide holistic care.
2. Orthopedic Specialists and Orthopedic Surgeons Are Two Different Professionals
Another important thing is distinguishing between orthopedic specialists and orthopedic surgeons. Orthopedic specialists encompass a broader category. It includes both surgical and non-surgical professionals who treat orthopedic conditions. While orthopedic surgeons are trained to perform surgical interventions, orthopedic specialists who are not surgeons focus on non-operative treatments. Some examples of such treatments are physical therapy and medication management. These non-surgical orthopedic specialists, also known as orthopedists, are highly knowledgeable in musculoskeletal health.
On the other hand, orthopedic surgeons are skilled in surgical procedures. Some of these procedures include joint replacements and complex reconstructions. They possess advanced surgical training and expertise. It allows them to address various orthopedic issues through surgical intervention.
3. Joint Replacement Surgery Is the Most Common Surgical Procedure
Joint replacement surgery is one of the most prevalent. Orthopedic procedure. It involves removing damaged joint surfaces and replacing them with artificial implants. These are made of metal, ceramic, or plastic materials. This procedure is commonly performed to alleviate severe pain and restore joint function. It is used for patients suffering from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Surgeons also use it for those with degenerative joint diseases. The most frequently replaced joints include the hip and knee. But the surgery can also be performed on smaller joints. These include the shoulder, elbow, ankle, or wrist. With advancements in surgical techniques and implant designs, joint replacement surgery has become a highly effective solution for improving mobility. So, the demand for this procedure continues to rise.
4. Surgery Is Not Always Necessary
Surgery is not the sole treatment option available. While orthopedic surgeons possess immense surgical expertise, they understand the value of exploring non-surgical alternatives before considering surgical intervention. Non-surgical treatments can encompass various approaches. These include physical therapy, pain management techniques, and medication. It also includes bracing or orthotics and lifestyle modifications. These conservative treatments aim to relieve pain without requiring invasive procedures.
Orthopedic specialists play a crucial role in assessing patients’ conditions and developing comprehensive treatment plans that prioritize non-surgical options. By embracing a holistic approach to care, orthopedic specialists and surgeons collaborate to ensure patients receive the most appropriate treatment. Surgery is reserved for cases where non-surgical treatments have been exhausted or deemed ineffective.
5. It Is Fine to Skip Your Primary Care Provider and Go Straight to an Orthopedist
A referral is not always necessary to see an orthopedic specialist or surgeon. There are some healthcare systems or insurance plans that may require a referral from a primary care physician. But many orthopedic practices allow patients to schedule appointments directly. This direct access allows individuals to seek specialized care promptly. It is especially helpful in cases where the condition is causing significant pain. The freedom to see an orthopedist directly empowers patients to actively participate in their musculoskeletal health. They can seek expert evaluation without going through the process of obtaining a referral.
However, checking with individual healthcare providers or insurance plans is still essential. It helps you understand their specific requirements and processes for accessing orthopedic care. By eliminating the need for a referral in certain instances, individuals can efficiently navigate the healthcare system. An orthopedic consultation helps in optimizing the chances for a successful recovery and improved quality of life.
Common Reasons to Visit an Orthopedic Doctor
It is best to consult an orthopedist if you face any pain affecting your joints, bones, muscles, and ligaments. Here are some common issues that an orthopedist regularly sees.
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Ankle or foot pain
- Shoulder pain
- Wrist or hand pain
- Elbow pain
- Hip pain
- Knee pain
At Advanced Pain Care, orthopedists with extensive clinical and research experience provide patients with the highest quality of care. Our sports medicine professionals provide valuable advice on managing and preventing future injuries. Contact an Pain managment center near you to speak to book an appointment.