Take A Closer Look At Surgical Specialties- Part One

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Becoming An Orthopaedic Surgeon

A Gap Medics student on placement in the operating theatre Orthopaedic surgeons are trained in the investigation, restoration and preservation of the form and function of the extremities, spine and associated structures by using medical, physical and surgical techniques such as casts, splints, braces or physiotherapy. Orthopaedic surgeons have the expertise to provide specialised care for patients with musculoskeletal problems including congenital deformities, infections, trauma injuries, tumours, metabolic disturbance of the musculoskeletal system, acquired deformities and degenerative disease of the spine, shoulder, hands, elbow, knee, hip and feet in adults and children. As an orthopaedic surgeon, you would also deal with the treatment of secondary muscular problems in patients who suffer from various central or peripheral nervous system lesions such as stroke, paraplegia or cerebral palsy.

Specialty certification in orthopaedics could include:

– Surgery of the Hand: An orthopaedic surgeon who specialises in surgery of the hand is skilled in the medical, surgical and rehabilitation treatment of injuries, abnormalities or diseases affecting the upper extremities. As a hand surgeon, you would also perform micro vascular surgery, which is necessary for reattachment of amputated fingers or limbs.

– Orthopaedic Sports Medicine: An Orthopaedic Sports Medicine specialist provides care for all structures of the musculoskeletal system that are directly affected by participating in sporting events. These specialists are proficient in the conditioning, training and fitness of the body as it relates to athletic performance. They are also knowledgeable about the impact of nutrition, dietary supplements and pharmaceuticals on the short and long term health and performance of athletes.

Critical Care Surgery

Critical Care surgeons focus on the medical and surgical diagnosis and treatment of critically ill and injured patients, particularly trauma victims. These specialists have the knowledge and skills to manage patients with multiple organ problems. They also coordinate teams of doctors and nurses when necessary for the care of critically ill and injured patients. To practice as a critical care surgeon, you will first need to be board certified in general surgery and then complete additional training and testing in critical care surgery.

Neurologic Surgery

Neurological surgeons provide operative as well as non-operative management of disorders of the brain, peripheral nerves, spinal cord and spinal column, including their support structures and blood supply. Managing these disorders includes measures aimed at evaluation, diagnosis, prevention, treatment, critical care and rehabilitation. These specialists also manage disorders that affect the function of the nervous system. Common conditions treated by neurologic surgeons include disorders of the brain, skull, spinal cord, cranial and spinal nerves and vertebral column. Paediatric neurosurgeons focus on treating children with head injuries, seizure disorders, brain and spinal tumours, hydrocephalus and vascular malformation.

Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery

A thoracic surgeon focuses on conditions of the heart and chest. This specialist provides surgical care to patients suffering from coronary artery disease, abnormalities of the heart and heart valves, cancers of the lung and oesophagus, congenital anomalies, diseases of the diaphragm and injuries to the chest. Thoracic surgeons have specialised knowledge of cardio-respiratory physiology and oncology, cardiac assist devices, respiratory support systems, endoscopy and other invasive and non-invasive diagnostic techniques.

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