A surgeon specialized in the medical field of orthopedics is called an “orthopedist or an orthopedic surgeon” Orthopedists usually examine and operate the injuries and diseases of different tendons and ligament of numerous bones. Along with that, orthopedic doctors also treat different muscular and joint problems as well. Some are the generalists while others are experts who focus on a particular joints or bones or part of a larger bone e.g. the spine or lumbar or thoracic vertebrae. Some orthopedic surgeons maintain their focus on injuries related to sports or accidents.
How to become a Doctor of Orthopedics
Orthopedists are doctors who obtain a M.D (Doctor of Medicine) from a recognized institute. The duration to complete the M.D degree is 4 years after the completion of an undergraduate degree. After becoming an M.D, the doctor must undergo their residency training in the field of orthopedic surgery which usually lasts for 5 years. AMA reports state that there are about 150 residency programs of orthopedics open for the students in the U.S and majority of the residency programs do not accept more than 5 students every year.
There is also some programs related to fellowships in the field of orthopedics and one can pursue any sub-specialty of the orthopedics after their residency. These fellowship programs do not last more than 2 years.
The Work Hours of an Orthopedic Doctor
Orthopedic Doctors spend the majority of their working hours in the operation room. Orthopedics implicates an amalgamation of minor as well as some major surgeries. The minor operations usually include surgeries such as the arthroscopic surgery, retraction of a bone that has been broken etc. Major surgeries are time consuming such as surgery on the spine, complete replacement of a joint or fixing of a dangerous trauma-induced injury just like the shattered bones from a blast etc.
Aside from operations, some orthopedic surgeons also spent a half day or a full day each week for office consultations with their patients. We can assume that on average an orthopedic doctor works anywhere from four to five days a week, and 10 hours daily.
Orthopedists can receive a call at any hour of the night from hospitals they have affiliations with for emergency duties. If someone is skilled in trauma related surgeries, then he may receive more on-call duties compared to the other orthopedic surgeons. In areas where there are a decent number of orthopedic surgeons available, then this will provide relief for every surgeon and lessen the on call time table.
Wage Expectations of Orthopedic Doctors
Orthopedists are some of the most well paid physicians in the US. Actual salary depends on the kind of orthopedic surgery specialty a doctor pursues but orthopedists can earn $700,000 yearly on the higher end of the scale. The 2011 MGMA report on physician’s salary states that the average income of a general orthopedic surgeon is just over $500,000. Entering this field is not only a honorable choice, but can also be quite a lucrative one.