At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
An orthopedic surgery center is a medical facility where surgeons perform procedures to repair and correct problems and injuries of the musculoskeletal system, which consists of the bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and muscles. Orthopedic surgeons specialize in the treatment of these structures, and often go through additional training and education to specialize in a particular area, such as the hands, spine, knees, or feet and ankles. Others focus on certain categories of treatment, such as pediatrics or sports injuries. Many orthopedic surgery centers employ several orthopedic specialists to handle different kinds of procedures.
While the main function of an orthopedic surgery center is to provide a place to perform invasive procedures to correct bone and tissue problems, orthopedic surgeons typically try non-invasive methods first before resorting to surgery. Patients who suffer injuries from sports or trauma or experience musculoskeletal problems due to a medical condition can often improve through non-surgical treatment methods including medications, physical therapy, and rehabilitation programs. Surgery is usually reserved for major injuries and conditions that do not improve after several months of more conservative treatment.
If an orthopedist determines that surgery is necessary to correct a problem, there are many different methods he may use. Arthroscopic procedures are some of the most common surgeries performed at an orthopedic surgery center. These procedures are minimally invasive and utilize small cameras and tools to repair ligaments, tendons, and joint problems. Some joint replacements, such as knee replacements, can be performed arthroscopically.
Common bone surgeries performed at an orthopedic surgery center include fusions, fixations, and osteotomies. Fusion surgeries meld bones together with bone grafts or implanted devices, such as metal rods and pins, to repair shattered and badly broken bones. Internal and external fixations hold pieces of broken bones in place against pins or screws to keep the joint immobile during the healing process. Osteotomies correct bone deformities by repositioning bones that slip out of place or by removing diseased or damaged portions of bones.
Most orthopedic surgery centers include everything a patient needs before, during, and after surgery. The centers usually employ nurses, surgical assistants, and anesthesiologists to take care of a patient's needs before surgery. These facilities have their own operating rooms for surgeons to perform the necessary procedures and recovery areas for patients to be monitored and receive necessary medications following surgery. Minimally invasive procedures are generally done on an outpatient basis, while some open surgeries for major spinal, joint, and bone repairs may require a hospital stay of several days or weeks before the patient returns home to complete the recovery process.