Orthopedics is a branch of surgery dealing with cases of the musculoskeletal system. To treat congenital disorders, tumors, infections, degenerative diseases, sports injuries, and musculoskeletal trauma, orthopedic surgeons utilize non-surgical and surgical means. The term orthopedics was coined by Nicholas Andry from “orthopédie”, a French word, in 1741 after publishing orthopedia, the art of preventing and correcting children’s deformities. Bony deformities and spinal correction ended up as the basis for an orthopedic practice.
The first orthopedic institute was established by Jean Andre Venel in 1780, the first-ever hospital dedicated to skeletal deformities treatment mostly on children. Venel is considered the first-ever real orthopedic surgeon and the father of orthopedics as a result of his hospital and published methods of operation.
However, this branch of surgery has changed a lot since its inception, with the first-ever successful surgery by David L. MacIntosh pioneering the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) knee management. ACL was a very serious yet common injury that brought the careers of dancers, field athletes, and skiers to an end as a result of permanent joint unsteadiness. MacIntosh worked with football players who were injured in re-routing viable ligaments around adjacent structures so that the complex and strong knee joint mechanics could be preserved, including stability restoration. The subsequent construction surgery development gave hope to many athletes who wanted to return to their professions.
However, modern surgeries in orthopedics and musculoskeletal studies seek to make the surgery process less invasive for implanted components to be more durable and much better.
Training and Certification
Orthopedic surgeons require undergraduate education for four years and another four in medical school. Also, the graduates from medical school undertake orthopedic surgery residency training for five years. One year is spent in general surgery training and orthopedic surgery training for the remaining four.
After the orthopedic surgeon has completed registrar or specialty residency training, they are eligible for the American Osteopathic Association Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists of the American Board of Medical Specialties. A certification from any of these two bodies ensures the orthopedic surgeon meets the specified examination, evaluation, and education requirements.
Surgeons practicing orthopedics have a typical schedule involving 55 hours or so of weekly work divided among administrative duties, surgery, clinic, and perhaps research and teaching in academic surroundings.
There are so many procedures carried out by qualified orthopedic surgeons that include carpal tunnel release, support implant removal, chondroplasty, knee arthroscopy, trochanteric and femoral neck fracture repair, knee replacement, meniscectomy, and knee arthroscopy, shoulder decompression and arthroscopy, anterior cruciate ligament and knee arthroscopy reconstruction, debridement of fracture, bone, skin, and muscle among dozens of other practices.
Among the areas in orthopedics that have helped patients is arthroscopy, which started with torn ligaments reconstruction and minimal surgery of invasive cartilage. This process helped patients to recover after a few days as compared to the months or weeks that open surgery requires, making it one of the most popular techniques in orthopedic surgeries. In fact, most modern orthopedic procedures are carried out arthroscopically.
Replacement of joints, especially hip joints has also become very popular among very active and younger patients. The operation helps in delaying the need for less bone-conserving and more traditional full hip replacements. To avoid the wearing of the bearing component surfaces, the use of alternative and better-bearing surfaces has increased today, more so in younger patients towards improving the joint replacement components wear characteristics. These alternatives to the metal on plastic that was originally used include all-metal and ceramic implants.
Other treatment methods in orthopedics include casts, injections, supports and braces, therapy and rehabilitation, medications, and surgery among others, on top of the already mentioned arthroplasty and arthroscopic surgery.