The seven subspecialties of orthopaedic medicine

The seven subspecialties of orthopaedic medicine

Orthopaedic medicine is a discipline of medicine that focuses in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries and illnesses. It incorporates bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. Orthopaedic surgeons are highly trained doctors, who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders.

In orthopaedics, there are seven major subspecialties: sports medicine, reconstructive surgery, foot and ankle surgery, hand surgery, paediatric orthopaedics, spine surgery, and trauma surgery. Some of the orthopaedic subspecialties are as follows:

  1. Sports medicine

Sports medicine is a branch of orthopaedic medicine that specialises in the treatment of sports injuries. Orthopaedists specialising in sports medicine have completed additional training beyond their standard 4-year residency to become board-certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery.

These physicians treat sprains, strains, fractures, tendinitis, bursitis,dislocations/dislocations, and amputation secondary to trauma or disease. They also treat certain orthopaedic conditions that are more prevalent in sports medicine, such as ligament tears or meniscus damage.

  1. Musculoskeletal oncology

Musculoskeletal oncology is a subspecialty of orthopaedics that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of tumours and malignancies affecting the musculoskeletal tissue. The goal of orthopaedists specialising in this area is to provide both medical and surgical treatments while maintaining the patient’s quality of life, especially during therapeutic approaches using chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

Orthopaedists who specialise in musculoskeletal oncology work closely with other doctors, nurses, physical therapists, nutritionists, pharmacists, psychologists/psychiatrists/physician assistants/nurses’ specialists, orthotics, orthopaedic technologists, orthotic technicians, orthopaedic technicians, orthosis fitters, prosthetists,and others to provide the best care possible.

  1. Foot and ankle surgery

Foot and ankle surgery is an orthopaedic subspecialty that focuses on diagnosis and treatment of both traumatic injuries to the foot or ankle, as well as non-traumatic conditions such as arthritis.For treatment regarding arthritis, consult an arthritis doctor.

The orthopaedist who specialises in this area performs surgeries involving soft tissue procedures (such as arthroscopy), fracture fixation (including external fixators), complex fractures requiring internal fixation, nerve compression release/removal, bony malignancies/tumours removal, or stabilisation using other bone growth stimulants (zinc fingers), or amputation. Unusual orthopaedic surgery such as orthopaedic oncology surgeries may also be performed. Orthopaedists who specialise in foot and ankle surgery often have a background in reconstructive surgery or orthopaedic traumatology.

  1. Hand surgery

Hand surgery is a branch of orthopaedics that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of trauma, including infection, tumours/cancer, congenital conditions, fractures/dislocations, arthritis/deformities, nerve compression syndromes (carpal tunnel), tendon injuries/ruptures, ganglions cysts/tumours. In addition to performing surgical procedures to manage musculoskeletal problems affecting the hand and wrist joint(s), rehabilitation is critical for orthopaedists specialising in hand surgery. This orthopaedic subspecialty requires specialised orthopaedic training in orthopaedics, orthopaedic surgery, microsurgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, and physical medicine and rehabilitation.

  1. Paediatric orthopaedics

It is a branch of orthopaedics that focuses on diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal problems in children from birth to adolescence. Orthopaedists specialising in this area have completed additional fellowship training in paediatric orthopaedics after completing their general residency in orthopaedics/orthopaedic surgery. In addition to performing standard orthopaedic surgeries such as knee replacement or fracture fixation, they also often perform more complex surgical procedures involving extensive reconstruction of the bones due to orthopaedic issues.

  1. Spine surgery

Spine surgery is orthopaedics that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of disorders affecting the spine, including degenerative conditions, tumours/cancer, infection, fractures, trauma, etc. Orthopaedists who specialise in this area have completed a fellowship after orthopaedic residency to become board-certified by the American Board of Spine Surgery (or equivalent). The orthopaedist who specialises in spine surgery may perform minimally invasive surgery using intradiscal thermal annuloplasty or transforaminal endoscopic discectomy rather than standard open orthopaedic surgery for patients with herniated discs or spinal stenosis. In addition to these methods which are less invasive than traditional orthopaedic surgery, orthopaedists who specialise in spine surgery also use scoliosis surgery or laminectomy to treat orthopaedic issues.

  1. Trauma surgery

It is an orthopaedics subspecialty that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of orthopaedic problems following major trauma to the body, including fractures/dislocations, amputations, etc. The orthopaedist who specialises in this area has completed a fellowship after completing orthopaedic residency training. Orthopaedists who are board-certified by the American Board of Trauma Specialties have completed additional programs focused on trauma management. A significant portion of an orthopaedist’s practice may be devoted to managing orthopedic conditions caused by motor vehicle accidents (including orthopaedic oncology), especially if orthopedic trauma is common in the area or orthopaedists are in high demand.

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