Orthopedic Surgeons: Things you need to know

Maintaining ourselves healthy should be our priority. It is like investing for a better future for us and more time with the people around us. Keeping our bodies fit and having good well-being makes us capable of doing things we ought to do in our daily lives. But, to take good care of our body, we should be knowledgeable enough with the right doctor responsible for every specific part of it and diseases related. With this, we knew where is it appropriate to go whenever we want to be examined. In addition, the proper doctor will also lead to the accurate diagnosis and prescription of medication that will make your condition improves faster. 

There are many types of doctors, but they could be classified into two main categories: primary care and specialty care. The doctors vary widely in their specialty area and level of training with these two groups. They have different roles, conditions that can treat, and procedures that can perform.

Primary care doctors are those someone who treats the minor illnesses, conducts health check-ups and answers your health questions, provides referrals to specialty physicians if needed, and perform different routine health test. This group of doctors includes family practice physicians, internal medicine physicians, pediatricians, and geriatric medicine doctors.

Family practice physicians are often called family medicine doctors, which can treat people of all ages, while internal medicine physicians treat only adults. Another difference between these two sub-groups is that internal medicine doctors are trained in general medicine and subspecialties but mostly on adults’ medical issues. In contrast, the family physician has a broader training capable of treating both children and adults. Furthermore, pediatricians are focused on treating children from birth to young adult. In addition, pediatricians in Manila have training in well-baby and well-child visits, childhood vaccines, disease prevention for children and babies, and treating illnesses and injuries in children and babies. While geriatric medicine is doctors are focused on treating older adults. Thus, they are internal medicine or family medicine doctors with additional training. This training includes the aging process, preventive care, and diagnosis and treatment of older adults’ diseases and conditions.

On the other hand, specialty doctors have training in a specific area of medicine. Thus, they could treat more complex health problems. 

Common specialty doctors include:

  • Allergists – also called immunologists that main goal is preventing and treating allergic diseases and conditions. They are also required to have training in internal medicine or pediatrics.
  • Dermatologists – they focus on diseases and condition related to the skin, nails, and hair. In addition, some also offer aesthetic procedures.
  • Infectious disease doctors – specialize in conditions and diseases that are contagious. They are also required to have training in internal medicine or pediatrics.
  • Ophthalmologists – specialize in eye and vision care. They could also perform eye surgery if needed and may also see people for routine eye care.
  • Obstetrician/gynecologists – provide preventive care and disease management for various female health conditions.
  • Cardiologists – are responsible for the cardiovascular system, which includes the heart and blood vessels. Also, they are require training in internal medicine or pediatrics. However, they cannot perform heart surgery.
  • Endocrinologists – treat disorders and conditions that affect the endocrine system. In addition, the endocrine system involves several glands that make and release hormones in the body.
  • Gastroenterologists – focus on the digestive system and can perform procedures like endoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, and colonoscopy.
  • Nephrologists – focus on kidney care and conditions that affect the kidneys. They are also trained and knowledgeable to do kidney transplants and dialysis.
  • Urologists – treat conditions of the urinary tract in both males and females. In addition, some urologists focus on a certain area within urology, like female urology or male infertility.
  • Pulmonologists – focus on the organs responsible for breathing; these include the lungs and heart. They also provide ventilation or life support. 
  • Otolaryngologists – are commonly known as “ear, nose, and throat” (ENT) doctors. They treat sinuses, throat, tonsils, ears, mouth, head, and neck problems.
  • Neurologists – treat conditions of the nerves, spine, and brain. Moreover, they examine and treat patients with epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, neuropathy, and stroke.
  • Psychiatrists – are doctors who treat mental health conditions. They use counseling, medication, or hospitalization as part of their treatment.
  • Oncologists – treat cancer and its symptoms.
  • Radiologists -specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions with medical imaging tests.
  • Rheumatologists – are doctors who diagnose and treats rheumatic diseases. 
  • General surgeons – perform surgical procedures on many organs and bodily systems.
  • Orthopedic surgeons – specializes in diseases and conditions of the bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints. 
  • Cardiac surgeons – perform heart surgery and usually work with a cardiologist to determine what a person needs.
  • Anesthesiologists – focus on a person’s well-being before, during, and after surgery. In addition, they are responsible for administering pain medicine, relaxation medication, or medicine to put a person to sleep.

With all of the specializations that have been mentioned previously, orthopedic doctors are one of the common specialty doctors that are usually present and available in every hospital. In addition, the orthopedic doctors in Makati specialize in diagnosing, treating, preventing, and even rehabilitating musculoskeletal injuries and diseases, whether it is surgically and non-surgically, and in people of all ages. With more than two hundred bones in our body, this is considered an in-demand specialty.

Below are the things that you should know about orthopedic surgeons:

1) What are the orthopedic surgeons specialize in?

Orthopedic surgeons are responsible for preventing, diagnosing, and treating disorders of the musculoskeletal. 

The muscular system has five main purposes: 

  • Movement – the skeletal muscles makes the joints move by pulling on the bones. While, when skeletal muscles pull the soft tissues of the face, it will cause facial expressions. Furthermore, the movement caused by the respiratory muscles makes us able to breathe.
  • Support – the body wall has muscles that support the internal organs.
  • Protection – the body wall has skeletal muscles that cushion the body’s internal organs against the force applied to the body’s exterior.
  • Heat generation – the waste product of muscle metabolism is heat, and it helps maintain and regulate the right internal body temperature. In addition, shivering is one mechanism of the muscular system to generate heat and warm an overly cooled body.
  • Blood circulation – the cardiac muscles aid in pumping action of the heart by aiding blood circulation.

The muscular system consists of: 

  • Skeletal muscles – creates movement in the body. There are almost seven hundred skeletal muscles that make the forty percent of a human’s body weight. This type of muscle is where the orthopedic specializes at.
  • Smooth muscles – these are involuntary muscles that line the walls of the blood vessels and viscera.
  • Cardiac muscles – make the heart contract and expand properly.

The musculoskeletal system is made up of bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and soft tissues.

Bones – are living tissue that makes up the body’s skeleton. Their shape classifies them whether it is long, short, flat, and irregular. In addition, we have eighty axial bones and one hundred twenty-six appendicular bones. Moreover, bones provide shape and support for the body and protection for some organs. It also serves as a storage site for minerals and provides the medium needed for developing and storing blood cells, bone marrow.

Muscles – its principal function is contractibility. The muscles attached to bones or internal organs and blood vessels are responsible for movement. In addition, about six hundred muscles in the human body work by either contracting or relaxing to cause movement; movement may be voluntary or involuntary.

Tendons – are fibrous connective tissue that attaches muscle to bone and moves the bone or structure.

Ligaments – short bands of tough, flexible tissue, made up of several individual fibers, which connect the bones of the body.

Soft tissues – are made up of muscles, ligaments, tendons, and fascia. The soft tissue supports joint action.

2) How to become an orthopedic surgeon, and how many years to become one?

Pre-Med (3-5 Years)

You can now proceed to college and get your pre-med course when you have graduated senior high school. The most common misconception is that you could only take allied-health courses, but in reality, even the graduates of a BS or BA degree are qualified to take NMAT. However, if you choose to take a non-allied health course, you should ensure that you take the additional science units needed for your med school choice.

NMAT (On your College Graduating Year)

National Medical Admission Test (NMAT) is a test wherein you will be tested on math, physics, biology, social science, and reasoning. Every med school in the country requires this test as a part of the application. In addition, you will only be qualified to take this exam in the graduating school year of your college.

Med School (4-7 Years)

Most med schools will require you to be in med school for four years; the first three years would be in a classroom set-up, while the final year is where you will be a clinical clerk, which is part of your clinical exposure. In addition, you could also skip having a pre-med course and directly go into six to seven years of med school.

Internship (1 Year)

It is one year of unpaid internship at your chosen institution before you can take the board exam. Here in the internship, you will be exposed to the different medical specialties.

Philippine Licensure Examination

The exam covers two parts:

  • Basic sciences: Anatomy and Histology, Biochemistry, Microbiology and Parasitology, Pathology, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, and Physiology
  • Clinical sciences: Internal Medicine, Legal Medicine and Medical Jurisprudence, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ophthalmology and Otorhinolaryngology, Pediatrics and Nutrition, Preventive Medicine and Public Health, and Surgery

You will be considered as a generalist after passing this and can work as a doctor.

Residency (3-7 Years)

It is also known as specialization training. The length of the training varies between specializations with specializations and also may depend on the hospital. The orthopedic surgical specialty residency usually lasts for five years. It is one year in a broadly-based, patient-related program and four years in orthopedic surgery. After taking this, you can work as a specialized doctor or train further for a sub-specialty.

Fellowship (Few months – Years)

It is also known as the sub-specialization; it will give you an edge for finding a niche field. The length of this period will vary anywhere from few months to few years. 

Consultant

Fellowship is not necessary to become a consultant. In this phase, you will be working more on an on-call basis, usually without the overnight duties.

3) What are the sub-specialties of an orthopedic surgeon?

The most common subspecialties in the field of orthopedics include:

Sports Medicine

This specialty training makes them capable of better treating athletes and people who are active for sport-related injuries and other conditions that affect their musculoskeletal system. In addition, a sports medicine expert can do physical therapy and exercise methods used to treat injuries to maximize function and mobility so that they can return to their games or physical activities as soon as possible.

Hand Surgery

It is a sub-specialization that focuses on diagnosing and treating injuries and conditions that affect the hand and upper extremities.

Pediatric Orthopedics

They are trained to take care of children, with specialized training in pediatrics, together with a keen understanding of the aspect of growth and development.

Spine Surgery

They specialize in treating conditions and injuries related to the spine that often result from disease, trauma, or degeneration.

Foot and Ankle Orthopedics

They are also called a doctor of podiatric medicine, and they specialize in treating people who have issues with the foot and ankle; this also includes treating sprains and strains.

Joint Replacement

One of the most common subspecialties that orthopedic surgeons specialize in. They specifically take care of damaged or worn-out joints.

Trauma Surgery

Orthopedic surgeons specialize in treating and doing surgery in the trauma unit, meaning for injuries of the musculoskeletal system that are severe and critical.

References:

Roiger, D., & Bullock, N. (2019). Anatomy, Physiology, & Disease Foundations for the Health Professions (2nd ed.). McGraw-Hill Education.

Nuevo, J., Ebuen, B., Valdez, A., Manahan, E., Bernardino, E., & Roslin, C. et al. (2019). Health Information System for Medical Laboratory Science. C & E Publishing, Inc.

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