What does an Orthopedic Surgeon do?

Learn all about Orthopedic Surgeon duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become an Orthopedic Surgeon.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 3 min read

An orthopedic surgeon is a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the bones, joints, muscles, and ligaments. Orthopedic surgeons use both surgical and nonsurgical methods to treat their patients.

Orthopedic Surgeon job duties include:

  • Operate on patients to correct deformities, repair injuries, or improve function in patients with musculoskeletal problems
  • Examine patients and obtain medical histories
  • Order and interpret diagnostic tests such as x-rays, MRIs, and blood work
  • Formulate treatment plans for patients
  • Educate patients and their families on proper post-operative care and rehabilitation exercises
  • Perform surgery using both traditional and minimally invasive techniques
  • Follow up with patients after surgery to check their progress
  • Consult with other physicians to discuss cases and make treatment recommendations
  • Stay current on new developments in orthopedic surgery through continuing education and research

Orthopedic Surgeon Job Requirements

An Orthopedic Surgeon is a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the bones, joints, muscles, and ligaments. They may also treat conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis. Orthopedic Surgeons must complete four years of medical school, followed by a five-year residency program in Orthopedic Surgery. After completing their residency, they must pass a written and oral examination administered by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery to become certified. Many Orthopedic Surgeons also complete a fellowship in a subspecialty such as sports medicine or pediatrics.

Orthopedic Surgeon Skills

  • Able to make quick decisions
  • Able to work well under pressure
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Excellent problem-solving skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Good hand-eye coordination
  • Good manual dexterity
  • Physical stamina
  • Mental stamina
  • Good people skills
  • Empathetic

Related: Top Orthopedic Surgeon Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become an Orthopedic Surgeon

In order to become an orthopedic surgeon, one must first complete a four year undergraduate degree, followed by four years of medical school. After medical school, one must complete a five year residency in orthopedic surgery. During this time, the doctor will learn how to diagnose and treat problems with the musculoskeletal system. After the residency is completed, the doctor may choose to take a fellowship in a specialty area of orthopedic surgery such as sports medicine or pediatrics.

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