Orthopaedics is the medical specialty that focuses on the diagnosis and management of injuries and diseases of your body's musculoskeletal system. This complex system includes your bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves. The musculoskeletal system allows you to move, work, and be active. Common orthopaedic problems include fractures, dislocations, tendon or ligament damage, overuse injuries, sports injuries, trauma, joint problems, and other conditions affecting the bones, joints, and supporting structures of the body.
Orthopaedic surgeons manage special problems of the musculoskeletal system. Treatment is tailored to each patient based on the diagnosis and considers the patient's desired approach. Depending on the individual and the diagnosis, a conservative (medical) or aggressive (surgical) approach may be taken. Management by an orthopaedic surgeon involves:
- Diagnosis of an injury or disorder
- Treatment with medication, exercise, surgery, or other therapy
- Rehabilitation by recommending exercises or physical therapy to restore movement, strength, and function
- Prevention with information and treatment plans to prevent injury or slow the progression of diseases
Conservative treatment options include medication, physical therapy, splinting, casting, or joint injections. Surgery may be necessary for certain conditions. Common procedures include:
- Arthroscopy is a procedure using special cameras and equipment to visualize, diagnose, and treat problems inside a joint.
- Fusion is a "welding" process by which bones are fused together with bone grafts and internal devices (such as metal rods) to heal into a single solid bone.
- Internal Fixation is a method to hold the broken pieces of bone in proper position with metal plates, pins, or screws while the bone is healing.
- Joint Replacement (partial, total, and revision) is when an arthritic or damaged joint is removed and replaced with an artificial joint called a prosthesis.
- Osteotomy is the correction of bone deformity by cutting and repositioning the bone.
- Soft tissue repair is the mending of soft tissue, such as torn tendons or ligaments.