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An orthopedic surgeon deals with the diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and rehabilitation of injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system. This includes the joints, ligaments, bones, tendons, muscles, and nerves. While all orthopedic surgeons are trained in dealing with all aspects of the musculoskeletal system, some prefer to focus on one specific area, so there are many different types of orthopedic surgery jobs available, including emergency surgery, oncology, sports medicine, and reconstructive surgery.
Orthopedic surgeons treat a wide range of injuries, including bone fractures, muscle injuries, and ruptured disks in the back. They also deal with abnormalities in bone growth or structure. Some orthopedic surgery jobs involve working with sports or work related injuries, or genetic abnormalities such as clubfoot. Orthopedic surgeons also specialize in treating different types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid or osteoarthritis.
Orthopedic surgery jobs in emergency rooms typically deal with those who have been in some sort of accident, such as a car accident or a major work-related injury. These jobs require the ability to think fast and work under enormous pressure, as quick decisions can mean the difference between a patient keeping a limb or losing his life. Not all emergency room visitors are suffering from life or death situations, however. Orthopedic complaints are the most common in most emergency rooms, and can range from a minor twisted ankle to severe, life-threatening injuries.
Oncologists deal with different types of cancer, and orthopedic surgery jobs in oncology deal with cancer of the bones and soft tissue. This includes Ewing sarcoma, osteosarcoma, and other malignancies that involve the musculoskeletal system. These doctors typically work with a team of other oncologists to diagnose the cancers by performing surgery to remove part of the tumor for biopsy. The tumor is then sent to a pathologist, who examines it for signs of malignancy.
Sports medicine orthopedic surgery jobs specialize in all aspects of the musculoskeletal system as it is affected by athletic activity, such as investigating, preserving and restoring the structures of the system though medical, surgical, and rehabilitative methods. These types of surgeons handle the treatment of injuries that occur during athletic activities. They also deal with preventative measures such as training and fitness, and the importance of diet and nutrition in athletic performance.
Orthopedic surgeons specializing in reconstructive surgery treat patients who have suffered injuries or disorders that either alter their appearance or destroy the function of the bone or muscle. By using bone grafts, metal plates, and other materials, these surgeons rebuild the original structure or alter an existing one. Some reconstructive surgeons also specialize in cosmetic surgery.
Different orthopedic surgery jobs may require different qualifications, and many surgeons choose a specialty while they are still in school. Some jobs pay more than others, and pay often depends on geographical location and demand. All specialties must stay informed about new advances in their field to provide patients with the best possible treatment.