Orthopedics, which translates as straight (from the Greek word “ortho”) children (“pais”), is a medical discipline dedicated to the study, diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal conditions among children. The musculoskeletal system includes joints, bones, tendons, muscles, ligaments and nerves. And the practice covers every possible cause of deformity or dysfunction, from trauma, degenerative diseases, congenital disorders, infections, sports injuries and tumors. As one of the main branches of surgery, orthopedic sessions are often headed by an orthopedic surgeon. But for the non-surgical interventions, medical professionals such as physiotherapists, chiropractors, kinesiologist and podiatrist are involved. The term was established back in 1741 by author Nicholas Andry, while writing a book about the practice. By 1780, Jean-Andre Venel constructed the first orthopedic institute. And since then, orthopedic surgery was popularized and doctors were able to respond effectively to structural and functional abnormalities among children.
To become an orthopedic surgeon, one usually has to complete a four year undergraduate course before applying to medical school. In there, he will have to finish another four years of training before he can undergo training and specialize in one field. This particular stage requires about five years to complete, with one year spent in general surgery training and the other four focused on orthopedic surgery practice. Once they are done, they can then apply for the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery certification. It establishes a standardized written exam and an oral exam and when they pass, they received their credentials, implying to clients that they have met the required educational, evaluation, and examination requirements of the field.
Some residents pursue additional training afterwards, called fellowships, usually about a year or two, to develop their skills. This is where they adapt a subspecialty – for example spinal surgery, foot and ankle surgery, shoulder and elbow surgery as well as surgical sports medicine. Subsequently, they again apply for certification by another standardized examination (only applicable for those taking orthopedic sports and hand surgery). And if they are interested, explore research or thesis writing and get involved with clinical studies to be updated on the latest medical trends in orthopedic surgery.
Qualification for the practice is very competitive, which is why it only produces 700 doctors per year. In the United States, there are approximately 20,400 active orthopedic surgeons and this is only 3% to 4% of the total physician population in the country. Majority of its practitioners are male, given that surgery in general, has always been a man's world. However, women have begun to immerse themselves in the field, with a 10% stake.
On average, an orthopedic surgeon is set at $ 155,485 to $ 351,650; and this is just for those who possess a medical degree. Additional board certification places a orthopedic doctor's annual pay at $ 252,000 to $ 493,550. They are actually the second highest paid medical practitioner in the United States and command a high level of respect among people. And depending on their case loads and affiliations (public, private, government health institutions), orthopedic surgeons may receive more than what has been prescribed. They usually just work five days a week, with regular office hours, except for special cases. And if they are assigned on ER duty, they may have to come in during the weeks, or work as an “on call”.